By Iavan Pijoos | News24 |
Johannesburg – Former South African Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana was convicted of three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday afternoon after he pleaded guilty.
The matter was adjourned to November 7 for sentencing.
Earlier, a second suspect was arrested at the court after being pointed out by one of the victims.
He was taken to the Randburg Police Station.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw says a third man was asked to hand himself over to police on Wednesday as well.
In Manana’s plea explanation. read out by his lawyer Michael Bill, the former deputy minister said he and his friends were sitting at couched at the Cubana lounge when three ladies joined them.
According to him they were sitting a few couches away from them and he did not know how they ended up at their table.
He said he never spoke to the women.
“At some point there appeared to be a debate which resulted in a rowdy argument. The argument appeared to be related to someone trying to stop one of these three ladies from taking video footage of me.”
Manana said he was asked by one of the women, Noluthando Mahlaba: “Who do you think you are. You isitabane [gay].”
He said following this he intentionally assaulted Mahlaba with an open hand on her face and back.
He also pulled her hair, pulled her to the ground, kicked and punched her.
Manana said a fight broke out in which he also intentionally assaulted two other women – Monoisa Duma and Thina Mopipa.
He said he assaulted Mopipa by grabbing her by her hair and throwing her to the ground.
He admitted assaulting Duma by punching her, slapping her, pulling her hair and kicking her.
On Wednesday morning, students from the University of Johannesburg, Fort Hare and TUT protested outside the court in support of Manana.
They held placards that read: “He is remorseful, let us forgive.”
A second one read: “Good leaders know when they are wrong.”
UJ student Brian Matyila said Manana was a young leader that they were proud of.
“He has been an inspiration of ours and when we were calling for free education, he was one of the few people who gave us a voice and listened to us,” Matyila said.
Matyila said they were “very sorry” for what had happened and that they were holding the victim in their prayers.
“This was one of the first leaders who showed remorse, to say sorry and we don’t get that a lot. He is sorry and we should listen to his remorse.”
A small group of DA supporters were also seen at the main entrance of the court.
They held placards that read: “Real men don’t hit women”.