PORT ELIZABETH - African National Congress (ANC) councillor Andile Lungisa, convicted of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and jailed for two years, intends to bring an application for leave to appeal both his conviction and sentence.
The application is set to be brought by his lawyer on Wednesday afternoon.
This after Lungisa was jailed for an effective two years behind bars after the court found he intentionally smashed a glass jug over the head of former mayoral committee member for transport, Rano Kayser during a chaotic 2016 Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting.
Kayser sustained multiple lacerations to his head and neck with pictures at the time showing him drenched in blood. The violent fracas saw councillors received trauma counselling afterwards.
Evidence presented before court included a video taken by Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Renaldo Gouws, which showed how Lungisa slammed the jug over Kayser’s head, before he fled and how Kayser fell backwards and landed on the floor.
In passing down sentence on Wednesday, Magistrate Morne Cannon emphasised that the case was a criminal matter and not a political one.
Cannon took into consideration that Kayser had sustained serious injuries which could have been “fatal and had catastrophic consequences”.
Kayser testified in aggravation of sentence and told the court that he suffered from short term memory loss since the 2016 incident.
“Even now he testified that he still has migraines and short-term memory loss two years after the incident. The doctor also said that he was lucky to be alive,” said Cannon.
Cannon said that the incident had far reaching consequences on Kayser, in that he was humiliated.
In mitigation of sentence, Lungisa testified that he financially looked after his seven children as well as his parents and younger siblings.
Lungisa told the court that he respected the court’s decision on finding him guilty and was remorseful.
However, the court found that Lungisa had shown no remorse and did not take responsibility for his actions
Cannon said that a non-custodial sentence would overemphasise Lungisa’s personal circumstances.
Cannon said that he took into consideration that Lungisa was a first offender who supported his family, but stated that assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm amounted to a serious offence.
Cannon found that as public representative, Lungisa had betrayed the trust of the community.
At trial, Lungisa pleaded not guilty to the charge and claimed that he had acted in self-defence. This was, however, dismissed by Cannon who found that Lungisa had no reason to hit Kayser.
Lungisa was taken down to the court’s holding cells.
Following sentencing, DA provincial spokesperson, Mlindi Nhanha, said the party welcomed the sentence, adding that it was not a time to celebrate.
“We’ve definitely lost one of the most vibrant politicians in the Eastern Cape which is a pity. But having said that, the [magistrate] sent out a message that no one is above the law. We hope that message will reach the ANC caucus in Nelson Mandela Bay, that criminality has no place in our society and it will be dealt with.”
African News Agency/ANA