An Eastern Cape journalist based in Gauteng is likely to be a key witness in an assault case involving Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mdu Manana and two women at a Johannesburg nightclub at the weekend.
Lumko Jimlongo witnessed the incident at Cubana Bar in Fourways, Johannesburg in the early hours on Saturday.
Manana assaulted two women who were sharing the table with him after an argument over who should take over from President Jacob Zuma as ANC president in December.
Jimlongo was one of the few people who restrained Manana from further hurting the women.
This was while a group of others – including the club’s management and bouncers – stood and watched as Manana allegedly punched and kicked the helpless women.
Jimlongo has since revealed on his Facebook page that should the victims decide to legally pursue the matter, he would not hesitate to give his witness testimony “on record” as he felt that what Manana did “was uncalled for”.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch yesterday, Jimlongo, who used to work at the SABC’s Bhisho office but is now a news editor at the SABC’s headquarters in Auckland Park, said he was no hero and he, too, stood doing nothing before he acted.
“We were all just watching in shock. I guess something must have clicked inside me and prompted me to try help. What is important here is that a woman has been assaulted. The fact that it is women’s month is neither here or there.
“As a deputy minister he should have known better.
“If this was an average person he would have been explaining himself from behind bars.
“I am no activist, but what I do know is that we do not want any window-dressing and press conferences condemning the deputy minister’s actions – there must be real repercussions and maybe that will deter other men from doing the same,” Jimlongo said.
Mandisa Duma, one of Manana’s victims, said the deputy minister became aggressive when he wanted to make a speech at the club just before it’s closure at 2am.
“Initially my cousin, a friend and I had been sitting at the table next to theirs [Manana’s] and later we sat together. The ANC succession debate became heated and he started chasing us away.
“As we were leaving, my cousin made a comment that he was being gay by being so dramatic in chasing us away – calling bouncers to remove us when were leaving. That is when the beat down started,” she said.
Duma said Manana assaulted her cousin first while she (Duma) was being dragged outside by two men from Manana’s entourage.
“Manana then joined the other men and started kicking me and pulling me by my hair.
“All he said was: ‘ubutabane yibo lobu’ [this is what gay is],” she said, adding that she sustained injuries to her knee, elbow, head and eye.
After Jimlongo and others intervened, Duma and her cousin went home. They later opened a case at Douglasdale police station.
It is believed this is not the first gender-based violence case laid against Manana.
Yesterday the Dispatch spoke to a woman who said she was assaulted by Manana at Nesto Shisanyama & Lounge in Ermelo, Mpumalanga on July 9.
The ANC has released a statement condemning the violence.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and should be roundly condemned by all in our society.
“Regardless of the circumstances or the identity of the perpetrator or victim, violence against women is a shame in our times,” wrote spokesman Zizi Kodwa.
The Department of Higher Education released a statement on Manana’s behalf in which he apologised “unreservedly” to Duma, her family and the entire country.
“Regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint. That shameful incident should not have happened.”
The Presidency also released a statement yesterday saying President Jacob Zuma had “learned with great concern and is disturbed by the allegations of assault on a woman patron at a nightclub in Johannesburg reportedly by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana.
“The South African government has made violence against women a priority crime.
“Women have a right to safety and security and must not be attacked or abused by anyone, anywhere in the country, regardless of the position of the either the perpetrator or victim. South Africa must be safe for all women,” said Zuma’s office.
The ANCYL also called upon law enforcement agencies to act on the matter without fear and favour. — firstname.lastname@example.org