The ANC Women's League has come out in defence of Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, who was sentenced to an effective two years in prison on Wednesday, for smashing a glass jug over the head of a fellow councillor.
ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba said the league "noted" the sentence imposed after Lungisa was found guilty in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court last month of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.
"Whether real or imagined, the sentence [for] Lungisa raises suspicions that there are elements of political vengeance against him," she said.
Lungisa, who pleaded not guilty in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court, 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.
Matuba said the ANCWL respected the independence of the courts and didn't support violence committed against any person, but disagreed with the logic of Magistrate Morne Cannon, who found Lungisa guilty and sentenced him.
"The courts of law must be consistent and at all times strive to have legitimacy in the eyes of the general populace so that it can continue to command moral authority," Matuba said.
"It is suspicious also for the court to dismiss Lungisa's application for leave to appeal."
Matuba said the ANCWL encouraged Lungisa to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Fikile Xasa described the sentencing as "depressing and unfortunate".
"We sympathise with Councillor Lungisa and his family during this difficult time. We trust that they will find courage and strength to confront the challenges that lie ahead of him," he said.