Andile Lungisa continues to enjoy both his freedom and the perks of the office
Andile Lungisa is out on bail, after spending a week in jail for an effective two year jail sentence for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm – four years after after smashing a fellow Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan councillor over the head with a water jug.
Bail was granted yesterday, pending his appeal to the Constitutional Court for leave to have it hear his case. Just how the court will find that Lungisa’s constitutional rights were infringed in this drawn out legal process should be a fascinating prospect, matched only in terms of logic by Lungisa’s refusal to vacate his council seat on the grounds that (a) the ANC might have declared corruption beyond the pale but he hasn’t been convicted of that; and, (b) he is now appealing his sentence.
There might well be grounds to all of this in the letter of the law – but certainly not its spirit. It is difficult for anyone who is not a legal professional to read anything into either him appealing to the apex court on “constitutional” grounds or his release on bail other than a cynical playing of the system.
Very few South Africans can afford a decent defence in the first court in which they appear, certainly not to fight it all the way to the high court, SCA and then Constitutional court because the legal fees are exorbitant. Lungisa has though. He’s failed so far, but he continues to enjoy both his freedom and the perks of office that two courts have effectively found him unfit to occupy.
We shouldn’t be angry with Lungisa though. He’s a product of a deeply dysfunctional system. That’s not his fault, it’s ours as citizens.
We need to fix it, because otherwise all the other political miscreants and tenderpreneurs are going to do exactly the same thing if they ever end up being fitted for orange overalls.