S.Africa ex-minister in 'gay insult' assault is fined
A South African court Monday handed a $7,000 fine to former deputy minister after he pleaded guilty to assaulting three women in a nightclub after they referred to him as gay, a sentence that drew outrage from activists.
Mduduzi Manana, 33, quit his job in August as deputy minister for higher education after he was charged over the assault, which was caught on camera and circulated widely on social media.
A woman had accused him of kicking and punching her and two others at the exit of a nightclub in the early hours of August 6.
The women had had a drink with him and referred to him as gay.
In passing the sentence, Magistrate Ramsamy Reddy lambasted Manana saying the degree of violence displayed by Manana in a public space was not becoming of a person of his stature.
The magistrate said that the incident had "undoubtedly caused the victims great trauma and humiliation" before he handed him a 100,000-rand fine -- the equivalent of $6,878 -- or an option of a 12-month sentence.
He also ordered him to perform 500 hours of community service and pay the medical costs incurred by the victims, as well as compensation for shoes and jewellery damaged in the incident.
Advocacy group Sonke Gender Justice slammed the sentence as "inappropriate and disappointing" -- in a country where violence against women is endemic.
"The sentencing sets a bad precedent for people of Manana's social standing, that if you have money you can simply get away with a fine," said the group's spokesman, Bafana Khumalo.
"A jail time would have been much an acceptable punishment," he said.
A large group of supporters clad in the governing African National Congress (ANC) party filled the gallery and broke into song and dance after the sentencing.
Some women could be heard ululating in joy outside the courthouse, as Manana left the building.
Manana still holds his position as ANC member of parliament.