Women's groups livid about Manana, Moyane
NPA's decision not to prosecute former minister and SARS boss 'does not instil any sense of hope for women', they say
In less than two weeks, two public figures seemingly survived prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). But even though they might not be off the hook completely, gender activist groups labelled it as problematic and unfortunate.
The assault cases against former deputy minister of Education Mduduzi Manana and suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane were withdrawn by the NPA, which said “there were no reasonable prospects for success”.
In a surprise move on Tuesday Manana resigned as MP, just a day before he was due to appear before parliament’s ethics committee.
He was expected to answer questions about his involvement in an assault in 2017 at a nightclub in Fourways. In this incident, video footage of three women did the rounds on social media and led to a public outcry calling for his arrest.
In September 2017, Manana was convicted on three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, to which he pleaded guilty.NPS spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the NPA’s decision not to prosecute suspects did not mean all was lost.
“The complainant has the right to appeal the decision with the NPA. There are checks and balances involved but they can still have their case reviewed by the national director of public prosecutions,” she said.
The news of the withdrawal of charges against the two men was not received well by gender advocacy groups, the #NotInMyName movement and Sonke Gender Justice. Both have been at the forefront of advocating against abuse of women and children.
Mjonondwane announced on Monday that Manana will not be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting and pushing his domestic worker, Christine Wiro, down a flight of stairs.
Moyane was accused of assaulting his son’s girlfriend, 17, who is also the mother of his grandchild. The Sunday Times reported that Moyane allegedly kicked her in the face “like a Ninja” and “rugby-tackled” her during an argument at a home in Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg. He was said to have screamed at the woman, accusing her of witchcraft and blaming her for destroying his “empire”.Mjonondwane said there were no prospects for success in pursuing the Manana case because “the version of an independent eyewitness who was allegedly present at the scene does not corroborate the version of the complainant”.
The senior strategic adviser at Sonke Gender Justice, Bafana Khumalo, said they were very disappointed by the NPA’s decision and labelled it as problematic.
“The decision does not add value to the work we are doing. It does not instil any sense of hope for women. For example, a woman sitting at home may end up saying: ‘What’s the point? The NPA might drop the case anyway’.”
Secretary-general of #NotInMyName Themba Masango said the decision was no victory for the victim. He argued it was only through a court of law that Manana could have been cleared of any wrongdoing, saying “it’s unfortunate that the NPA felt that there was no need to prosecute him”.
Masango also said Manana should not be a public servant nor an ANC servant, given the scourge of violence in SA.According to CEO of AfriForum Kallie Kriel, the mother of the teenager who laid the charge against Moyane was left distressed by the decision not to prosecute. She has since approached AfriForum to conduct a private prosecution.
Kriel confirmed they were meeting the teen’s mother next week to talk about the particulars of the case.
Kriel could not confirm when the case was likely to head to court since they first had to investigate and then ask the NPA for another nolle prosequi certificate. This certificate indicates that there will be no further prosecution, paving the way for a private prosecution.
The suspension of Manana’s case received mixed reaction on Twitter, with some users saying the matter should be taken up for private prosecution.
But Kriel said they could only respond when approached by the victims themselves.
Masango said earlier: “Manana should not be given airtime to speak at parliament.”
Khumalo said you do not need “hardcore scientific evidence” to prove that a woman was abused – their coming forward and speaking out means a lot. He described the NPA’s decisions as worrying, and questioning its independence.
It is unclear whether Wiro will pursue the case further since she could not be reached by the time of publication.