Port Elizabeth – ANC provincial heavyweight Andile Lungisa told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court he had been acting in self-defence when he smashed a glass jug over the head of Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral committee member Rano Kayser.
Lungisa took the stand on Monday to testify in his defence. He is facing a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm for his conduct during a now infamous council meeting of October 2016.
Earlier in the day, all charges were dropped against Lungisa’s co-accused, Gamalihleli Maqula, who was facing a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. It was alleged that Maqula had stabbed chief whip of council, Werner Senekal.
Lungisa said that at the time he had been in charge of the ANC caucus in council, which included among other things, being in charge of discipline.
He said that there had been a number of items on the agenda, but the main issue of contention was the request that ANC councillor Xola Sabani leave the chamber.
Lungisa said council had become chaotic, and he had approached the front of the council chamber to ask for an adjournment. He said he had not been hostile in his approach and had the utmost respect for speaker Jonathan Lawack.
He said he was not aware of any rule that said he was not allowed to approach the speaker’s podium during council.
Lungisa said as he approached the front, he was grabbed by councillor Johnny Arends, who held him on the right shoulder and twisted his right arm behind him. He said another DA councillor had approached him from behind, with Kayser coming towards him from in front of the podium.
Lungisa said it was at this point that he had picked up the glass jug, which had been on the secretary’s table, which was in front of the speaker’s podium, with the intention of throwing the water at Kayser so that he could run away.
He said he had only struck Kayser once, and then fled.
“As I ran away I was hit on my back from behind,” he said.
Lungisa said he was on good terms with Kayser before the incident, and they still shared sweets during council meetings.
Magistrate Morne Cannon asked Lungisa why, if he was in charge of discipline, did he not tell the ANC councillors to behave or have his councillors vacate the room.
Lungisa said he was a new councillor and, with the respect he had for Lawack, it would not have been easy for him to take the councillors out of the chamber.
Earlier in the year, prosecutor Wayne Ludick played a video recorded by DA councillor Renaldo Gouws that showed Lungisa, wearing a suit and salmon pink shirt, attempting to gain access to the speaker’s seat.
Kayser can be seen approaching Lungisa and trying to take a glass jug out of Lungisa’s hands. Lungisa then raises the jug, as Kayser’s arm goes up in defence. Lungisa then slams the jug down over Kayser’s head.
The glass jug shatters and water spills everywhere as Kayser drops to the floor unconscious and bleeding from a gash to his head.