Jailed Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa has been released on parole today, two-and-a-half months after beginning a two-year prison sentence for assaulting a fellow councillor with a glass jug in 2016.
Lungisa, a staunch supporter of former ANC president Jacob Zuma, will serve the rest of his sentence for assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm under correctional supervision, according to the department of correctional services.
Lungisa was released in terms of section 73 (7) of the Correctional Services Act, which allows for parole placement for first time offenders with a positive support system who had also been responding positively to rehabilitation programmes while in prison.
Lungisa, who has defied the instruction from the ANC Eastern Cape leadership to resign from his seat on the Nelson Mandela Bay metro council and his party post, was immediately back in the political fray, calling for a change in the party leadership at a televised media briefing directly after being released.
Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Lungisa had been considered eligible for parole because he had served one sixth of his sentence.
Lungisa had been jailed on 9 May 9 2018, but had been released on bail pending his appeal against the sentence on 25 May the same year. He returned to prison on 17 September this year, after the appeal failed.
Nxumalo said Lungisa was one of 14 000 inmates who benefited from a special remission of sentence announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last December, with his sentence being reduced by 12 months.
“The parole placement means that Lungisa will serve the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, wherein he will be expected to comply with specific conditions and will be subjected to supervision until the sentence expires,” said Nxumalo.
Nxumalo did not provide further detail as to Lungisa’s parole conditions, but said that he would be arrested and face his parole being revoked should he violate them.
Flanked by supporters and allies, including axed North West premier and ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, Lungisa said they would be campaigning for a change in the party leadership, which was necessary.
Lungisa said the current leadership was not committed to the economic transformation of South Africa, which remained a “British satellite” years after the ANC took power.
“We are in a country that never achieved our independence. We are a British satellite,”’ Lungisa said.
Saying that “we need a change in the leadership of the ANC’’, Lungisa added that he and his supporters would be campaigning for this, holding public consultations ahead of the ANC national general council meeting next year and its 2022 national elective conference.
“For us to move away from being a British satellite, we need a new generation, which must fight for the total control of South Africa, where we can have full ownership of our country,” Lungisa said.
Lungisa attacked the Zondo commission, saying money was being wasted on the state capture inquiry when people were unemployed.
Lungisa’s victim, Democratic Alliance councillor Rayno Kayser, declined to comment, referring all questions to party provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga.
Bhanga had not responded to calls from Mail & Guardian at the time of writing.