Andile Lungisa maintains innocence as he enters prison, hits out at judges

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Andile Lungisa.
Andile Lungisa.
Luvuyo Mehlwana, News24
  • Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa remained defiant when he reported to prison on Thursday.
  • Lungisa was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 2018.
  • The conviction was for smashing a glass water jug on DA councillor Rano Kayser's head during a scuffle in council in 2016.

Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor and former ANC Youth League deputy president Andile Lungisa reportedly remained defiant in his final moments of freedom on Thursday. 

As the gates of the North End Prison in Port Elizabeth, historically known as "Rooi Hell", slammed shut behind him, he maintained he had done nothing wrong, Dispatch Live reported.

Lungisa was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 2018, News24 reported.

The conviction was for smashing a glass water jug on DA councillor Rano Kayser's head during a scuffle in council in 2016.

He appealed his sentence to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which rejected his application last week after finding that there was no basis to interfere with the trial court's judgment. It found that the lower court had appropriately balanced Lungisa's circumstances, the nature and seriousness of the crime committed, and the interests of society.

Lungisa has now turned to the Constitutional Court in the hope of overturning his conviction. 

READ | Andile Lungisa: 'I will go to jail, if I go to jail, and I will come back to liberate my community'

Supporters outside prison

According to Daily Dispatch, outside the prison grounds, ANC supporters gathered, sang struggle songs, prayed and then walked Lungisa to the reception area, where he handed himself over to the correctional services officials just before noon.

He had reportedly raised concerns about prison conditions in his latest papers filed with the Constitutional Court this week, saying the food was unpalatable, the sleeping arrangements less than comfortable, there was no privacy when using the toilet, and that he ran the real risk of contracting Covid-19 while behind bars.

Outside the prison on Thursday, he reportedly said that he and Kayser had resolved their issues and that Kayser did not want to see him jailed. 

He also reportedly claimed that the video footage of the incident had been "doctored" and also took a stab at the five SCA judges, saying they had treated him unfairly because of his political standing.

Earlier on Thursday, ANCYL convener Thandi Mahambehlala addressed Lungisa's supporters in Port Elizabeth, saying he was being persecuted by the "old guard" and that their time would come.

Mahambehlala, who was part of the Youth League leadership in the Western Cape when Lungisa was the deputy president, went on to pledge her support for the former leader.

Bail extension application

"Andile is one of us. Those who are not here today, I want to tell them every dog has its day. This persecution that we see today of Andile by the old guard - we are saying your time will come. We are here as this generation to ensure that Andile does not walk alone entering the walls of the prison," she said.

She added that, as the younger generation, they would unite against whatever enemy they saw, "and we make it a point that we eliminate that enemy".

An application for the extension of Lungisa's bail is due to be argued in the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda on Monday at 14:00. The National Prosecuting Authority has indicated that it will oppose the application. 

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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