ANC Eastern Cape heavyweight Andile Lungisa found guilty of assault
ANC Eastern Cape heavyweight Andile Lungisa has been found guilty of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Lungisa, who pleaded not guilty in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court, was accused of smashing a glass jug over the head of former member of the mayoral committee Rano Kayser, during a Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting in October 2016.
Among the evidence presented by prosecutor Wayne Ludick, was a video Democratic Alliance councillor Renaldo Gouws had taken, which showed how Lungisa slammed the jug over Kayser's head, before he fled and how Kayser fell backward and landed on the floor.
Kayser sustained multiple lacerations to his head and neck, including a deep gash to his left temple which required stitches.
Lungisa later testified that he felt threatened at the time and that he had acted in self-defence.
Lungisa's co-accused, Gamalihleli Maqula, had also faced a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, for allegedly stabbing Nelson Mandela Bay's chief whip, Werner Senekal, in the back during the same meeting.
Maqula was acquitted after an application in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, lodged after the State concluded its case against him.
After weighing up both the State's and defence's closing arguments, Magistrate Morne Cannon found Lungisa guilty.
Cannon said the matter was not political even though Lungisa was an ANC councillor, Kayser was a DA councillor, and the matter occurred during a council meeting.
"This case has received a lot of media attention, in part due to the positions held by those involved and the setting where it occurred.
"The matter before me is not political, but a clear-cut criminal matter," he said.
Cannon said he was impressed with the State's witnesses and that the video corroborated their testimony.
He said it was clear that Kayser did not hit or attempt to hit Lungisa, nor had DA councillor Johnny Arends hit or attempted to hit him.
He added that, while there were discrepancies, the discrepancies were not material to the case and showed that the witnesses had not colluded.
However, the magistrate was not impressed with Lungisa and described his testimony as vague and evasive.
"He tailored his defence as the trial proceeded," he said.
The magistrate added that the following aspects of the case were not in dispute:
- that a meeting took place in October 2016;
- that the meeting descended into chaos;
- that Lungisa had approached the speaker;
- that both Kayser and Arends approached Lungisa;
- that Lungisa picked up a jug;
- that he hit Kayser over the head and
- that the jug broke and Kayser sustained injuries.
The case has been postponed to May 9 for a correctional supervision report and Lungisa's bail has been extended.