PORT ELIZABETH - African National Congress (ANC) councillor in Nelson Mandela Bay, Andile Lungisa -- charged with assault to cause grievous bodily harm was contradicting himself in relation to what happened at a violent 2016 council brawl, the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.
Under cross examination, the prosecution highlighted a number of contradictions and accused Lungisa of blatantly disregarding council rules.
Lungisa is accused of smashing a glass jug over the head of mayoral committee member for transport, Rano Kayser during a council meeting which turned chaotic in October 2016.
The ANC provincial heavyweight took to the witness box for the second day and was cross examined by Prosecutor Wayne Ludick who accused him of changing his version.
Ludick pointed out that in Lungisa’s statement to police, he said that he was hit several times with fists over his back before fleeing chambers, however, in the video it shows Lungisa being hit once with a flag pole.
Lungisa retorted that he had only realised it was a flag pole after viewing the video and said with the pain he felt he drew an inference that he was assaulted more than once.
Lungisa earlier claimed that Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Johnny Arends twisted his right arm behind his back, restraining his hand.
But in the video Arendse is not seen twisting Lungisa’s right arm and the court wanted an explanation for his version.
The video was played before court and Lungisa said: “Yes I do see, but I was attacked by three DA councillors and everything happened in a split second.”
Lungisa demonstrated several times to the court how he was purportedly restrained and attacked and at some point Magistrate Morne Cannon asked him to stop with the demonstrations.
Lungisa claimed that he was restrained by DA councillors while Kayser charged for him and punched him in the stomach, his intention was to throw Kayser with water, the court heard.
But when viewing the video Ludick said Kayser was not seen punching Lungisa in the stomach.
“At that stage I was closing my eyes there was a DA councillor holding me and I was trying to run away.”
Ludick put it to Lungisa that he raised his hand in the video and slapped Kayser twice, but Lungisa replied that he was trying to defend himself by blocking Kayser from hitting his face.
Lungisa then claimed that Kayser hit him in the face but the prosecution said there was no evidence in the video to suggest Kayser slapped Lungisa.
Ludick further asked Lungisa to describe how much force he used when the glass jugs was smashed over Kayser’s head.
Lungisa said that he only knew that the jug had a lid on but could not answer questions on what the jug was made of.
Lungisa told the court that he did not know how much force was used when the jug crashed onto Kayser.
“It was not necessary to hit him that hard.”
“It’s crucial to your defence that you intended to throw him with water and not to hit him,” Ludick put to him.
But Lungisa said that his intention was not to hit Kayser and he had aimed to runaway.
Ludick criticised Lungisa for not answering direct simple questions.
Cannon became irritable and gave Lungisa a stern warning “seven questions ago and you are still not answering the question”.
The prosecution put it to Lungisa that he blatantly disregarded council rules -- in that no councillor may pass between the Speaker Jonathan Lawack or any councillor that is standing in a passage.
“Do you agree that this rule restricted your movement?” asked Ludick.
Lungisa said that he had approached the Speaker’s assistant to request that the meeting be adjourned.
“That is correct, but I have to explain. The Municipal Manager approached me and we were standing in the passage. You are asking these questions out of context,” Lungisa said.
The trial continues on April 3.
African News Agency/ANA