Andile Lungisa decides to remain in prison despite being granted bail

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Andile Lungisa
Andile Lungisa
Deon Ferreira
  • Andile Lungisa was granted bail on Friday by the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda, pending the outcome of his leave to appeal his incarceration before the Constitutional Court.
  • However, it has since emerged that he has opted to stay in prison, to finish the programmes he started. 
  • This despite one of the prime points he raised in papers to the ConCourt being that the conditions of prison are 'unconstitutional'. 

In a complete contradiction of maintaining his innocence and his reasons for approaching the Constitutional Court to appeal his sentence, Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa has allegedly opted to stay in prison after being granted bail.

Lungisa was granted bail earlier on Friday by the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda, pending the outcome of the leave to appeal application before the apex court.

However, it has since emerged that Lungisa has opted to remain in prison, according to his brother, Ayongezwa Lungisa.

In an SABC News video, Lungisa's brother, said the former ANC Youth League deputy president had decided to remain in prison and finish the programmes he had started.

READ | Andile Lungisa granted bail, pending ConCourt application

"This is not part of admitting that what was done by the courts or rather the determination that was given by the courts is correct, but he wants to demystify the myth that he wants to buy away all the problems he is facing," Ayongezwa told the broadcaster.

"The second thing is that it may appear that he is not a law abiding citizen, that's why he said he wants to remain inside to finish those programmes, when he finishes those programmes he will come out and join his family and the people of South Africa."

Lungisa has maintained his innocence, claiming that he acted in self-defence when he smashed a glass jug on the head of DA councillor Rano Kayser during a council meeting which turned into a scuffle in 2016.

After being found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison (one year suspended) in 2018, Lungisa appealed the conviction and the sentence in the Eastern Cape High Court which dismissed the application.

He then approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) appealing only his sentence, which upheld the decision by the trial court.

Lungisa has since approached the highest court in the country in a bid to avoid jail time.

In his court papers lodged with the Constitutional Court, Lungisa argued that people in prison are being kept in custody is unconstitutional because of the conditions and the Covid-19 regulations.

According to Lungisa, the SCA did not take into consideration "the massive disadvantages of imprisonment".

This includes the situation at present with the existence of Covid-19 and overcrowding in correctional facilities.

He added that the harm done to him, his family and his ability to obtain employment once he has served his sentence was not taken into consideration by the appellate court.

READ | 'Remarks allusive and false': Judiciary responds to allegations of political interference by Andile Lungisa

"I would also like to draw this honourable court's attention to the fact that the Department of Correctional Services have very important laws and regulations, very few of which apply, which means that people are being kept in custody unconstitutionally," Lungisa said.

He pointed out that there is overcrowding in prison cells, very few people have mattresses and beds, very little if any access to water, being forced to use the toilet openly where people can see you and that the food is "appalling".

However, Lungisa said he could understand that not all prisoners can be released early, especially those who have committed very serious offences and repeat offenders who "would have to put up with those kinds of circumstances at present".

But for him, it is very different because he will be there for a period of no longer than two years and in that time, he will not be able to see his wife or seven children and he will have very little access to decent food, accommodation, exercise and decent conditions of living.  

Despite these submissions to the apex court, Lungisa has now decided to remain behind bars until he has completed programmes.

Lungisa further pointed out that short prison sentences are purely retributive and add no further value.

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