SA NEWS: Manana stays on as an MP

Despite quitting as deputy minister of higher education and apologising for his “ utterly shameful” actions, Mduduzi Manana will remain an MP.

Manana’s resignation yesterday was prompted by advice that he opt for the softer landing of quitting rather than being fired by President Jacob Zuma.

City Press has learnt that the plan was for Zuma to ask him to resign, but the arrangement would be that Manana would state publicly that he had stepped aside voluntarily.

This played itself out yesterday when Manana (33) released a statement expressing regret for the “unfortunate situation” that unfolded three weeks ago, when he beat up Mandisa Duma at ­Cubana nightclub in Fourways, Johannesburg.

The assault triggered a public outcry, and calls for his resignation or for Zuma to act against him have been growing.

Manana said he had reflected on the matter and decided to resign.

However, while he has relinquished his government post, Parliament has confirmed that he is still an MP.

“I have decided, on my own, to step down from the position of minister of higher education and training in the Republic of South Africa and have communicated my decision [to] the president,” Manana said.

Accompanying the statement was a video recording of Manana reading out the announcement.

The statement came shortly after Zuma said he had ­accepted Manana’s resignation and wished him well.

There has been speculation that the resignation could trigger changes in Zuma’s executive.

Three sources said Zuma would make an announcement soon regarding redeployments after Manana’s fall from grace.

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But his office has denied any suggestion of major changes.

Manana is said to be one of Zuma’s golden boys and it is ­understood that the former deputy minister is a supporter of the president.

“That is why he advised him to rather resign,” said an ANC ­insider.

A source close to Manana told City Press that this was also the reason the ANC Women’s League believed the matter was being used as a political tool.

This is despite talk that he has switched his allegiances.

The rumour was prompted by claims made by Duma that Manana had strongly advocated for Deputy President ­Cyril Ramaphosa during the ­heated debate which later ­resulted in her assault.

Manana is said to have lost his temper when the woman and her friends called him gay.

A source close to Manana told City Press that Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza “has been trying to woo him over to join the other side with him”.

Manana plays his politics ­quietly.

He is never at the forefront defending the president or antagonistic to his detractors, say sources.

“He is very smart and very sophisticated in how he operates,” added one.

Manana is said to have some influence in the region he comes from in Mpumalanga.

But his mother, Sibongile Manana, an ANC MP, is a more influential figure in the region. She is a former MEC in Mpumalanga.

“If you want to win in the region, you must have the Mananas on your side,” said a source.

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When contacted for comment, his mother said she was not ready to talk about what had happened.

Manana appeared in court four days after the incident on a charge of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm, and was granted R5 000 bail.

The fact that police failed to arrest Manana on the day Duma opened a case against him sparked ­outrage that he was receiving preferential treatment.

He has apologised for what he called a “shameful incident” which, he said, occurred as a result of “extreme provocation”, but the ­victim has rejected his apology.

Duma‚ who sustained a black eye‚ bruised knees and a swollen face and neck, claimed that while walking out of the venue, ­Manana slapped her cousin across the face before turning on her in the parking lot.

The ANC welcomed Manana’s resignation and thanked him for “his service to the people of South Africa during his tenure”.

The ANC also said it would take disciplinary action against him.

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