Port Elizabeth - Jailed African National Congress (ANC) councillor Andile Lungisa briefly appeared in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court on Thursday, with his ankles chained to shackles.
Lungisa brought an urgent bail application pending a petition to the Grahamstown High Court after Magistrate Mornay Cannon dismissed an application for leave to appeal his conviction and two-year sentence.
Last month, Lungisa was found guilty of intentionally smashing a glass jug over the head of former mayoral committee member for transport, Rano Kayser, during a chaotic 2016 Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting.
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.
Cannon found that the video evidence showed that there was no reason for Lungisa to hit Kayser, thereby dismissing Lungisa’s self-defence claim.
The court also found that Lungisa lacked genuine remorse.
He was sentenced to an effective two years behind bars and is currently serving time at the North End Prison.
After much delay on Thursday, with members of the public and media being sent from pillar to post the case was eventually called before Cannon who postponed the bail hearing for Friday.
“Unfortunately your matter will not be able to proceed. I was only informed late yesterday and got the papers today at lunch,” said Cannon.
Lungisa’s two brothers Ayongezwa and Siyacela Lungisa attended proceedings along with ANC members including provincial heavyweight Mlibo Qoboshiyane who was there to show his support.
“Please afford this young man an opportunity for bail so that he can be with his family,” Qoboshiyane said.
Portia ‘Pankie’ Sizani, wife of Stone Sizani, who has an ongoing fraud trial of her own was also at court to support Lungisa as well as ANC stalwart Mike Xego.
Speakers were set up and blared in the street outside the court building as ANC members sang and gave messages of support hoping that Lungisa would be released on bail.
Meanwhile, in petition papers handed in before court on Thursday, Lungisa claimed that he did not act like a reasonable person during the chaotic 2016 council meeting and his actions were negligent.
The notice of motion has yet to be heard before the Grahamstown High Court.
In his affidavit, Lungisa claimed that an act of negligence was insufficient for the court to convict him on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Lungisa argued that he should have been acquitted on the basis of his subjective belief that he acted in defence.
On his two year sentence, Lungisa said Cannon “overemphasised the seriousness of the offence and the interests of the community”.
He claimed that the court imposed a sentence to satisfy the community and Kayser, who earlier claimed that he suffered from short term memory loss following the incident.
Lungisa also claimed that Cannon attached insufficient weight to his personal circumstances, that he was a first time offender and financially cared for a large family, which included his wife, seven children as well as his parents and siblings.
Lungisa said that he had on previous occasions approached Kayser to apologise but he was not ready to receive the apology.
“I testified in respect of sentence and in open court rendered my apology to [Kayser], which in my culture is an important part of restoration. The magistrate disregarded this completely.”
Lungisa said the court also failed to take into account that he was not a threat to society.
He said Cannon rejected the option of Correctional Supervision and erred by underestimating the value of such a sentence.
Lungisa said that the correctness of his conviction and sentence were arguable and that there was a reasonable prospect of success, in that another court may come to a different finding.
The bail hearing will be heard on a Friday.
African News Agency/ANA