Judges demand retraction of ‘offensive remarks’ from Andile Lungisa

Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court before the verdict on his assault case on April 17, 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lungisa was found guilty of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm for 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. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)

In a statement on Wednesday, the SCA dismissed Lungisa’s ‘allusive and false remarks’, saying they undermined the integrity of the judiciary and judicial independence and constitute contempt of court and crimes injury offences.

The president of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), President Mandisa Maya, the judges of the SCA concerned (Justices Nambitha Dambuza, Caroline Nichols, Shares Weiner and Nolwazi Mabanda-Boqwana), and the Judge President of the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Judge President Selby Mbenenge have demanded a retraction from convicted criminal and former ANC Youth League leader Andile Lungisa following allegations he made last week.

The SCA earlier this month dismissed Lungisa’s appeal against his assault conviction and sentence.

In 2018, the former youth league leader was found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and sentenced to three years in prison, of which one year was suspended for a period of five years on condition that he was not convicted of similar crimes during the period of suspension.

Lungisa smashed a glass jug over the head of former mayoral committee member for transport Rano Kayser at a Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council chamber at a meeting held in 2016.

In its ruling The SCA said: “The appeal is dismissed. It was conceded on the appellant’s behalf that the offence he committed was “particularly serious and even egregious.”

The court highlighted the fact that the “weapon” used in assaulting the complainant was particularly dangerous.

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However, Lungisa said the judgment was politically motivated.

Speaking outside the North End Prison in Port Elizabeth, to begin serving his two-year sentence following a conviction on charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, Lungisa alleged that his matter was not fairly decided due to political and familial affiliations of the judges who presided over his case.

Lungisa said in part: “…we couldn’t do anything in court because there was a collaboration of those who are within our ranks, including those who are part of the old regime. They collaborated with the magistrate, then they got to the prosecutor. It then went to Grahamstown. It went to Bloemfontein. In Bloemfontein, the majority of the judges come from the Eastern Cape. When our matter was there in Bloemfontein, the husband of the judges who presided over my case were promoted. Their children were given contracts and then we expect that there will be a fair outcome? And you think there is what is called fair justice?”

In a statement on Wednesday, the SCA dismissed Lungisa’s “allusive and false remarks”, saying they undermined the integrity of the judiciary and judicial independence and constitute contempt of court and crimes injury offences.

It said in part: “Any criticism against the Judiciary should be fair and made in good faith. More importantly, such criticism should be specific and clear. Efforts to discredit the Judiciary by levelling allegations of corruption against the Judiciary as a whole or against individual judges and political figures or role-players without any further substantiation, must be condemned.

“Any person with credible evidence of corruption or undue influence within the Judiciary must come forward, produce the evidence and be willing to testify to it in a court of law of before any commission of enquiry. Without evidence, such allegations cannot be investigated.

“The rights of Presidents Maya, the SCA judges concerned and Judge President Mbenenge have demanded a retraction of the offensive remarks from Mr Lungisa.”

Read the full statement below:

SCA statement

SCA statement

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