S.Africa ex-minister convicted of assaulting women

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A former South African minister was convicted on Wednesday of brutally beating two women at a Johannesburg nightclub after one of them called him gay.

Ex-deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and described how he kicked and punched the women after one asked “Who do you think you are? You gay.”

He had been in the upmarket Cubana nightspot in Johannesburg’s Fourways district in the early hours of August 6 when the two women joined his table, Randburg Magistrates court heard.

Manana, who resigned from the government last month but remains an MP, will be sentenced on November 7.

He has publicly apologized for the “shameful incident”, saying that “regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint”.

A small demonstration of Manana’s supporters gathered outside the court, as did a counter-protest by members of opposition parties who carried placards that said: “Real men don’t hit women.”

Violence against women is endemic in South Africa.

Every eight hours a woman dies after being attacked by a partner or relative, according to official statistics, and one woman in five will suffer at least one violent assault at some point in her life. (AFP reporter)

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