Minister’s actions disgraceful

Janine Myburgh, president, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The actions of Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana, who has admitted to assaulting two women outside a nightclub, and his defence by ANC Women’s League president, Bathabile Dlamini, are a major setback for gender equality and fairness.

Women’s rights are so important we have a public holiday to further the cause and celebrate the contributions women have made to the country, and all this is betrayed by the scandalous behaviour of someone who, as a person responsible for the education of children, should set an example.

The sheer hypocrisy and the obviously scripted apology were nauseating and did little to repair the damage.

“Handsome is as handsome does,” says the old adage, and we have seen something decidedly “unhandsome”. The deputy minister has proved himself to be grotesque.

Of greater concern is the fact that Minister Dlamini said there were other senior government leaders who were even worse.

This tells us that the bullying and assaulting of women is tolerated at very high levels. She seems to be telling us that this assault was a minor incident not to be taken seriously. Well what does she take seriously?

And why has no action been taken against the “even worse” people in government?

Many people in South Africa have gone to great lengths to bring honour to women, and they have been badly let down.

Both the minister and the deputy minister should be fired without any further delay for they are now symbols of hypocrisy.