With ANC councillor and former youth league deputy president Andile Lungisa expected to hand himself over to authorities on Tuesday, a group falling under the banner #JusticeforAndileLungisa said that they would take steps to have the sentence imposed on him reviewed.
In a statement issued on Monday, the group accused the judiciary of being unfair towards Lungisa, who was last week sentenced to three years in prison for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm regarding an incident that happened in 2016.
They said there was a history of discrimination towards black people by the judicial system.
“This is evidenced by the comments made by the presiding officers when they delivered the judgment and sentencing in the court. When they used a phrase that says Lungisa is not an ordinary South African, they automatically ventured into the political space derogating their impartiality, unbiased, fair and non-prejudicial role in a Constitutional democracy,” according to the statement.
During a chaotic council sitting Lungisa smashed a glass water jug on DA councillor Rano Kayser’s head.
The group described the incident as one of self defence, saying that Lungisa was surrounded by five men, three of whom “gruesomely attacked” him with closed fists.
“Like any ordinary citizen he displayed a classical textbook definition of self-defence to avert the imminent dangerous attack he was exposed to. As a law-abiding citizen, he is petitioning both the wrongful conviction and sentence because the decision was taken is unfair, bias and devoid of impartiality,” the statement read.
They explained that Kayser and Lungisa had managed to sort out their differences and had formed a friendship.
“Comrade Lungisa made peace with the victim and restored the relationship that he had with the victim. The relationship remains cordial like before, they meet in council business and interact normally after the apology to Councillor Kayser there is peace and harmony.
“It is also a simple known fact that the judiciary in Port Elizabeth is not transformed. Justices are human beings, therefore, fallible, but the ability of litigants before the court to have faith in impartial adjudication of facts and application of law is fundamental to the justice system,” the statement read.
They question the video clip used in court, saying it does not have the whole process of the fracas which ensued in the council meeting.
They stated that the full video that depicts the “true nature” of activities is available for everyone to see.
The group has called the attempts by the ANC in the Eastern Cape to suspend Lungisa’s membership to be “out of order and against the ANC Constitution”.
Lungisa’s legal team will be submitting its application for extension of bail in the Grahamstown High Court on Tuesday.