Ricochet News

Lungisa grateful for support as Grahamstown High Court decides on his bid to stay out of jail

Mar 14, 2019
Lungisa grateful for support as Grahamstown High Court decides on his bid to stay out of jail

Controversial Nelson Mandela Bay African National Congress (ANC) Councillor, Andile Lungisa, on Wednesday took to Twitter to express his appreciation to his legal representative and his supporters after the Grahamstown High Court reserved judgement in his application to have his conviction and sentence for assault overturned.

 

Lungisa was released in May last year on a R10 000 bail after serving only 16 days of his two-year sentence at the North-end Prison, in Port Elizabeth, following his successful urgent bail application.

The controversial politician hired criminal defence attorney, Alwyn Griebenow, to help him appeal his conviction and sentence.

Lungisa, who in April was convicted on a charge of assault with the intent to cause Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), was sentenced to three years behind bars at the beginning of May. 

One year was suspended for five years, so he was to serve an effective two-year jail term.

Andile Lungisa assault conviction

Lungisa faced charges of assaulting Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor, Rano Kayser, and allegedly smashed a glass jug filled with water over Kayser’s head during a brawl that broke out a Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality council meeting in October 2016.

As a result of that brawl, DA Chief Whip, Werner Senekal, was also injured. Kayser had to be rushed to hospital bleeding from a huge gush on his head while Senekal was allegedly stabbed in the back with a sharp object by ANC Councillor, Gamilihleli Maqula.

Reports suggested that trouble began when the ANC, which is now in opposition, objected to an item on the municipality's confidential green paper.

In the ensuing chaos, glass water jugs were thrown at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, the Speaker and Councillors.

An ANC female Councillor collapsed in the mayhem and was also ferried to hospital.

Port Elizabeth police had to be called in to restore order after a security guard fired two warning shots while trying to control the fighting Councillors.

Kayser and Senekal later laid charges against Lungisa and Maqula.

The ANC blamed the fiasco on the DA.

Bail was granted after the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court heard that Lungisa needed to lodge his appeal petition to the High Court within three working days of his sentence, which he did. 

Grahamstown High Court hears Lungisa's conviction and sentence should be set aside

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argued in the Grahamstown High Court on Wednesday that the two-year jail term was "shocking and wholly inappropriate".

He said that it was Lungisa’s political rivals, who had used the justice system to get him behind bars, despite their own involvement in the Nelson Mandela Bay council brawl.

Ngcukaitobi asked why Lungisa was singled out.

He said at best, the courts should have handed him a suspended sentence.

Ngcukaitobi said that the courts had overlooked that Lungisa had attacked Kayser in the heat of the moment as he felt he was under attack and Magistrate Morne Cannon had overlooked these facts.

He also said that Lungisa was a productive member of the community and a bread-winner, who does not deserve the harsh sentence he got in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court.

After hearing arguments from the State, represented by Nickie Turner, the court reserved jugement.

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.