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S.Africa deputy minister apologises over nightclub ‘assault’

A South African deputy minister on Monday apologised after he was accused of kicking and punching a woman at a nightclub in northern Johannesburg.

Higher education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana admitted he was involved in the “shameful incident”, saying that “regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint”.

He gave no further details of the alleged assault, but said that he would give a full account to President Jacob Zuma and the ruling ANC party.

Police said they were investigating the incident which occurred at around 4:00am (0200 GMT) on Sunday at the upmarket Cubana club in Johannesburg’s Fourways district.

Police spokesman Vuyo Mhaga confirmed to AFP that a case of assault had been opened against Manana.

“As we were leaving we were assaulted by Deputy Minister Manana and his group of friends,” one of the victims told the eNCA television channel.

“They kicked me, they punched me as well as my cousin.”

A journalist with the public broadcaster, Lumko Jimlongo, witnessed the fracas.

“She fell on the floor… then he proceeded to trample (her)… he kicked her, his foot was on her head,” Jimlongo said on SABC.

Manana “was pulling her by the hair while she was still on the floor,” he added.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said the allegations were “disturbing” and vowed that the case would be fully investigated.

“No one is above the law irrespective of their position in society,” he said.

Manana vowed to cooperate with investigators and “subject myself fully to the process of the law”.

The ANC expressed “great disappointment” at the allegations.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party called on Manana to resign.