Former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa loses appeal against assault conviction
Cape Town - The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Wednesday dismissed the appeal by Andile Lungisa, the former ANC leader in Nelson Mandela Bay, against his prison sentence for assaulting a fellow councillor in 2016.
The Grahamstown High Court in 2018 sentenced Lungisa to three years in jail, of which one was suspended, for smashing a water jug over the head of Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Ryno Kayser.
"The Supreme Court of Appeal found no basis to interfere with the sentence imposed by the trial court, on the grounds that that court had appropriately balanced the appellant’s personal circumstances, the nature and seriousness of the crime committed and the interests of society," the SCA said in a summary of its judgment.
The ruling carries not only damning legal but also political consequences for Lungisa given the recent decree by the ANC that all office bearers facing serious charges must step down from their positions.
This decision by the party's National Executive Committee prompted the Eastern Cape provincial secretariat to instruct him to resign and to suspend him as a member of the provincial executive committee.
Lungisa has so far insisted that he would not heed the instruction, claiming that the NEC's decision did not affect "ordinary" party members.
In a unanimous decision by a full bench, the SCA stressed the serious nature of the crime he committed and said the attack caused Kayser life-threatening injuries.
"It observed that Mr Lungisa used a dangerous weapon when hitting the complainant on a sensitive part of his body, the temple, causing serious, potentially fatal injuries."
Lungisa may have been a first offender, and one with standing in the community, but the crime had devastating consequences, the court added.
"He did not behave in a manner expected by the community of its councillors, failed to take responsibility for his actions and showed total lack of remorse for his deeds."
Lungisa had previously appealed both his conviction and sentence in the high court. He failed on both counts and only appealed his sentence in the SCA.
African News Agency (ANA)