In a detailed letter addressed to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, MPL Christian Martin sought help in addressing the issue of abuse against women and children yesterday.
This follows the attack on three women outside a Johannesburg restaurant on August 6, when former deputy education minister Mduduzi Manana lost his cool during an argument on who should succeed President Jacob Zuma at the party elective conference this month.
But Mantashe called Martin’s attempt to ensure that Manana be suspended if found guilty an attention-seeking ploy.
Martin called on the ANC to act decisively in ensuring the internal disciplinary processes be followed up as he felt Manana’s behaviour brought the party into disrepute.
“As the ANC we should condemn such behaviour, to protect and uphold the dignity of the organisation. Regarding the court case of comrade Manana, [it] will always dent and destroy the credibility and integrity of our organisation,” Martin said.
He said he could not stand by and watch how formidable men failed in their role to protect women and children.
“After the judgment of the court [on Manana], I decided that I cannot be part of those who are silent.
“We as the ANC pride ourselves as being the leader of society, it is only right that we set the examples and if disciplinary action should be taken then we should do it.
“Given that women and vulnerable people fall under my portfolio as chairperson of social development in the Eastern Cape, I can’t just be quiet,” Martin said.
Manana was sentenced to a R100 000 fine‚ or 12 months in prison‚ and 500 hours of community service in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court last month.
Mantashe said last night that while he had not seen Martin’s e-mail, he was not interested in it as he believed Martin only wanted attention.
“He is not communicating with me, when he sends you the letter. If Christian writes to me about Manana and he sends it to you he is not asking for any solutions, he is looking for attention.”
In the letter, Martin said: “We cannot lower ourselves to be part of the many that regard this campaign of fighting violence perpetrated against our vulnerable to be a mere slogan . . . women and children are the weaker sex therefore more to be protected and provided for by [men].”
When asked whether he believed this comment was sexist Martin said: “I don’t think it is sexist. I am not looking down on women, but physically men are stronger, women are stronger emotionally, and it is fact.”