Sonke condemns National Prosecuting Authority decision not to prosecute Mduduzi Manana for alleged assault

On Monday 23 July, the National Prosecuting Authority announced its decision not to prosecute Mduduzi Manana after allegedly assaulting his helper, Christine Wiro in May this year. The NPA declined to prosecute as it felt that there were no reasonable prospects for success. The incident related to Manana allegedly pushing the 53-year-old Wiro down the stairs during a heated argument. A recording of Manana allegedly trying to bribe Wiro with R100 000 to drop the case surfaced after Wiro laid the charge, with Manana subsequently instituting a charge of extortion against Wiro.

Sonke Gender Justice is disappointed by the NPA decision. Gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa is endemic and it is incumbent on institutions like the NPA to assist in eliminating GBV. Rigorous prosecution in cases of violence as well as access to justice are essential components of violence prevention, and responses to violence.

South Africa is among countries with the highest rates of GBV, and research shows that on average, one in five South African women has experienced physical violence. The lack of prosecutions result in decreased confidence in the criminal justice system, which impact on decreased reporting of GBV and the systemic perpetuation of GBV in our communities.1 The Medical Research Council has found that close to half of all rape cases (47.7%) are not prosecuted by the courts.2  The effects of GBV are far-ranging and cumulative, with a 2014 audit report estimating that GBV costs South Africa between R28.4 billion and R42.4 billion per year.3

It is Sonke’s view that Manana breached the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests for Assembly and Permanent Council Members (‘Code’) and the laws of South Africa. This includes the disregard of the oath/affirmation of allegiance taken as a Member of the National Assembly pursuant to the Constitution of South Africa and disregard for the eradication of all forms of discrimination, specifically the eradication of discrimination against women.

Sonke welcomes Manana’s announcement made yesterday on Tuesday 24 July, to resign as a Member of Parliament.

Manana is scheduled to appear before the Joint Ethics Committee today, 25 July 2018.