Embattled Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) councillor Andile Lungisa has said he will fight a bid by the ANC’s regional task team (RTT) to have him removed from both the council and as a member of the Ward 2 branch task team.
Lungisa has labelled the move an agenda of thieves, collaborating with their provincial counterparts to fight factional battles.
This came after a letter which the RTT wrote to Lungisa on Sunday was leaked to the media. In it, he was asked to resign from the two positions within 72 hours.
ANC regional coordinator Luyolo Nqakula also informed Lungisa of a decision taken to request the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) to suspend his membership.
“I have written to the provincial secretary requesting the PEC through its structures to enact rule 25.70 of the constitution of the ANC, to temporarily suspend your membership with immediate effect,” wrote Nqakula in the short letter.
He gave the 2018 court findings against Lungisa as the reason for the decisions. In 2018, the former youth league leader was found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
This was in relation to a 2016 NMB council sitting, which saw Lungisa smashing a glass jug over the head of former mayoral committee member for transport Rano Kayser.
“It’s a matter which the structure has been dealing with for a very long time, it’s arrived at a collective conclusion pertaining to this matter. You will see what has been leaked to you, is a collective expression,” said Nqakula of the letter.
However, Lungisa has rubbished this, describing the move as seeking political expediency.
He told News24 he was being targeted because he was among the ANC councillors who went to open a case with police over the theft of Covid-19 resources in June.
“This is part of people protecting corruption in Nelson Mandela Bay, being assisted at provincial level. I am one of those councillors who went to the police station in Humewood to open cases of corruption against those who stole money from PPEs (personal protective equipment), those who received kickbacks from the PPEs,” Lungisa said.
Lungisa, who stepped down as an MMC last month, said he did that after the ANC at national level had directed him to do so, via secretary-general Ace Magashule’s office.
He accused Nqakula of himself having received R300 000 from Covid-19 tenders.
Lungisa said he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the provincial disciplinary committee, arguing that the current matter was exactly the same as the one he had already been cleared of.
“I was cleared in August. Now, a few weeks later, a letter with the same content is carried and leaked to The Herald. You can’t charge a person twice on the same issue. This doesn’t even happen with hardcore criminals,” Lungisa said.
He said the ANC had not informed him directly of the decisions taken.
“I will respond once I get the letter from the organisation,” he continued.
Lungisa said the move to have his membership suspended didn’t make sense as the ANC’s resolution of stepping aside and accounting when accused of corruption was not linked to his “jug assault matter”.
“My matter had nothing to do with corruption. There is no basis for this,” argued the former ANC Youth League leader.
He told News24 the ANC’s PEC was collaborating with an illegal RTT, which had been in place for more than a year and had not launched any branches.
“I am witnessing people accused of stealing from the poor coming for Andile Lungisa. This letter is a main cover, to also ensure they remove Lungisa’s membership from the ANC,” he said.
Lungisa said this was nothing more than the agenda of thieves and vowed to continue fighting against them.
“We will never surrender the fight of cleaning up our organisation. This fight can’t be factional. Those who have stolen money must face the music,” he said.
Nqakula rubbished Lugisa’s claims, telling News24 he was not in the employ of the state.
“That is utter nonsense, nothing but a smear to tarnish my name, reputation and integrity. They went to the police station to open a case against myself. No investigation was conducted and no charges proffered against me,” he told News24.
Nqakula also dismissed claims that the RTT did not communicate its decisions to Lungisa.
“He is lying. I sent the letter to him and I have the proof, not my PA, I sent the letter myself,” he said.