In the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, ANC Eastern Cape heavyweight Andile Lungisa was found guilty of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Lungisa, who pleaded not guilty, was accused of smashing a glass jug over the head of former member of the mayoral committee Rano Kayser, during a Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting in October 2016.
Among the evidence presented by prosecutor Wayne Ludick, was a video DA councillor Renaldo Gouws had taken, which showed how Lungisa slammed the jug over Kayser’s head, before he fled and how Kayser fell backwards and landed on the floor.
Kayser sustained multiple lacerations to his head and neck, including a deep gash to his left temple which required stitches.
Lungisa later testified that he felt threatened at the time and had acted in self-defence.
Lungisa’s co-accused, Gamalihleli Maqula, had also faced a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, for allegedly stabbing Nelson Mandela Bay’s chief whip, Werner Senekal, in the back during the same meeting.
Maqula was acquitted after an application in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, after the State concluded its case against him.
After weighing up both the State’s and defence’s closing arguments, Magistrate Morne Cannon found Lungisa guilty.
Cannon said that while Lungisa was an ANC councillor, Kayser was a DA councillor, and the matter occurred during a council meeting, it was not political.
“This case has received a lot of media attention, in part due to the positions held by those involved and the setting where it occurred.
“The matter before me is not political, but a clear-cut criminal matter,” he said.
Cannon said he had been impressed with the State’s witnesses and that their testimony was corroborated by the video.
He said it was clear that Kayser had not hit or attempted to hit Lungisa, nor had DA councillor Johnny Arends hit or attempted to hit him.
He said while there were discrepancies, these were not material to the case and showed that the witnesses had not colluded.
He said Lungisa had not impressed him, and that his testimony had been been vague and evasive.
“He tailored his defence as the trial proceeded,” he said.
He said the following aspects of the case were not in dispute:
– That a meeting took place in October 2016
– That the meeting decended into chaos
– That Lungisa had approached the speaker
– That both Kayser and DA councillor Johnny Arends had approached Lungisa
– That Lungisa had picked up a jug
– That he had hit Kayser over the head
– That the jug broke and Kayser had sustained injuries
Lungisa has been placed in custody.
Court has been adjourned so that his defence can prepare arguments for mitigation of sentencing. — News 24