PORT ELIZABETH - ANC councillor Andile Lungisa -- who has been vocal and confident throughout his criminal trial -- shied away from reporters on Tuesday, after he was convicted in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Lungisa was found guilty of intentionally smashing a glass jug over the head of former mayoral committee member for transport, Rano Kayser, during a 2016 council meeting which turned chaotic. The violent fracas saw blood being shed while other councillors received trauma counselling.
In handing down judgment on Tuesday, Magistrate Morne Cannon said: "I should make it clear that this is not a political matter but a clear cut criminal case."
Cannon found that Democratic Alliance (DA) councillors Renaldo Gouws, Johnnie Arends and Speaker Jonathan Lawack confirmed Kayser's evidence -- that he never assaulted Lungisa.
Cannon was impressed with the evidence led by the DA councillors and said their evidence corroborated with the video footage, adding that it was clear that Kayser did not hit nor intended to hit Lungisa.
On their reasons pointing to why chaos erupted Cannon said that there were contradictions, however, that those differences pointed towards honesty leaving no room for collusion.
He dismissed Lungisa's claim that he was acting in self-defence.
"Even though the situation was chaotic there was no reason for [Lungisa] to hit [Kayser]," said Cannon.
Cannon said that he was not impressed with Lungisa in the witness box who described as "vague and evasive".
"I got the impression that he tailored his version as the trial proceeded. As the saying goes he set his sails as the wind blew."
Cannon said that it was clear from the video footage that Arends did not twist Lungisa's arm nor did anyone dive towards him.
Lungisa's bail was extended and his is expected back in court on May 9, for sentencing proceedings.
Meanwhile, Lungisa, who on several occasions addressed crowds and reporters was on Tuesday mum as he left the court.
He refused to take questions from the media and instead ANC Regional Secretary Themba Xathula spoke on his behalf.
"The magistrate has made some conviction which in our view we are going to appeal. There are some mitigating factors that need to be considered. We as the ANC still continue to support Andile because he was part of the collective when he was engaging with the DA coalition in council on the day in question," said Xhathula.
African News Agency/ANA