Mduduzi Manana. Picture: TIMESLIVE
Mduduzi Manana. Picture: TIMESLIVE

Assault-accused Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana would still enjoy VIP police protection until he resigned or was fired, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said in Parliament on Thursday.

Manana, who faces two counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, appeared briefly in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for assaulting a woman. He was granted R5,000 bail and is due to make his next court appearance in September.

Mbalula denied that Manana was being treated with "special kid gloves", but would still enjoy VIP protection. The police minister’s denial came amid accusations that Manana was receiving preferential treatment, had not been arrested and was sneaked into court.

"The withdrawal will depend on a process that may still have to take place, such as a resignation or him [Manana] being asked by his superior to step aside. But until then, as an appointee of the president, we will protect him," said Mbalula.

The minister acknowledged that there were multiple failures at police station level in the police’s handling of violent crimes committed against women, often resulting in perpetrators going unpunished.

"I’ve helped over 5,000 women who have alerted me of abuse.... It [justice] should not be administered like that. That shows functional weaknesses at a station level. Our police can-not be negligent in our stations."

Mbalula denied getting involved in Manana’s matter before it reached the police.

He had instructed the police to act swiftly, he said, after the matter was brought to his attention by the brother of Mandisa Duma, who was allegedly assaulted at the Cubana restaurant in Fourways, Johannesburg, at the weekend.

The incident was caught on video, which appears to show Manana’s entourage pulling an individual towards him.

The DA and the EFF have asked President Jacob Zuma to fire Manana. National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Speaker Thandi Modise called on the police and the courts to act swiftly in Manana’s matter.

With Neo Goba

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