The Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court has found the ANC’s Andile Lungisa guilty of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Presiding Magistrate Morne Cannon ruled on Tuesday that Lungisa had intentionally smashed a glass jug over the head of then mayoral committee member for transport, Rano Kayser, with the intent of causing him harm during a council meeting.
Passing judgment, Cannon said that Lungisa was vague, evasive and contradicted himself during the trial. He also went on to say that Lungisa was a poor witness who “tailored his version as the trial proceeded”.
Lungisa’s defence attorney, Luthando Ngqakayi, conceded that there were inconsistences picked up in his client’s testimony but said he disagreed with the magistrate’s analysis of the matter.
Cannon also added that Lungisa’s version – that Kayser wanted to assault him – was not supported in the video footage taken by Democratic Alliance councillor Renaldo Gouws.
This incident took place during a Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting which degenerated into a chaotic brawl between opposing council members in October 2016.
The video depicted council members erupting into song to try and disrupt the proceedings before focusing on the front of the venue where Lungisa was seen surrounded by three males, two of whom were attempting to grab hold of him.
Lungisa, who was seen clutching a glass jug in his left hand, fought with council members before smashing the jug on the back of Kayser’s head. He was then seen hightailing it from the venue, but not before an unidentified person whacked him on the back of the head with what seemed to be a flagpole.
Lungisa had pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault.
His bail was extended to May 9 for sentencing.
The state also indicated that it would bring another witness to the stand during the sentencing proceedings.
Lungisa faces a possible five years in jail for his misconduct.
Apart from a small group of ANC supporters wearing the party colours while they sang “hands off Lungisa”, there was no presence of notable ANC leaders at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court.
“My client had pleaded not guilty so I am sure he is disappointed with the outcome, but as of yet I have not been given instruction on whether he intends to appeal the judgment,” said Ngqakayi.