EAST LONDON: Andile Lungisa, the ANC councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, has been left to stand assault charges on his own, as his co-accused was acquitted on Monday morning.
Lungisa and Gamalihleli Maqula faced charges of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm following a Nelson Mandela Bay brawl in council chambers on October 27 2016.
Lungisa was accused of smashing a glass water jug over the head of member of the mayoral committee for transport, Rano Kayser, and Maqula was accused of stabbing chief whip Werner Senekal.
Maqula was acquitted in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning.
Magistrate Morné Cannon said there was no evidence to convict Maqula.
According to Timeslive, Lungisa said it had been DA members – first a councillor with false teeth and then others – who had initially attacked him.
He said he had been afraid because of the way the DA councillors had been handling him. He added that that one of the councillors had headed for him as he unbuttoned his shirt, the report said.
The State had called a number of witnesses, including Senekal himself, former UDM councillor Mandla Faltein, municipal manager Johann Mettler and Senekal’s doctor, Wessel Swart, to testify.
Cannon said Faltein’s evidence, which included a video of the alleged stabbing, was not of much use, pointing out that it was unclear and adding that Senekal himself battled to identify himself in the footage.
Addressing Senekal’s testimony, Cannon said the chief whip conceded that he did not know when or where he had been stabbed, or who had stabbed him.
“He concedes that the injury could have happened on two other occasions,” Cannon said.
“He also concedes he did not see a weapon on [Maqula].”
As a result, not much could be placed on Senekal’s testimony, the magistrate found.
Cannon also referred to Mettler’s testimony that he saw Maqula make a movement with his hand before he saw Senekal wince in pain and take a step forward. This led him to conclude that Senekal had been stabbed.
However, Cannon said Mettler had not been able to explain why Senekal’s testimony contradicted his own, and added that Mettler conceded that he had not seen a weapon in Maqula’s hand.
Dealing with the testimony of Dr Swart, which was given on Monday, Cannon said the evidence confirmed the injury, but pointed out that it did not help the State to prove that Maqula had caused it.
“In light of the above, I find there is no evidence to convict [Maqula]. [Maqula] is therefore discharged in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act,” he ruled.
Lungisa has been shrouded in controversy, before he run an unsuccessful campaign for Minister in the Presidency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, he was elected and endorsed by former president Jacob Zuma as regional chairperson of the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay, before being ordered to step down.
He subsequently stood for the position of ANC provincial secretary, as part of the team behind former chair and Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle.
The provincial elective conference descended into chaos with many injured as chairs flew in the venue. When the elective conference reconvened, Masualle’s supporters were not present and Oscar Mabuyane was elected as Eastern Cape chair of the ANC.