Ward 19 ANC man has suspended sentence for assault on teenager
A year after he was convicted and sentenced for kidnapping and severely assaulting a teenage boy, Nelson Mandela Bay Ward 19 ANC councillor Gamalihleli Maqula was back in court yesterday for his involvement in last week’s council brawl.
Maqula, 28, and fellow ANC councillor Andile Lungisa, 39, who are facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, spent hours in the holding cells at the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday waiting for their names to be called.
They had handed themselves over at the Humewood police station before 9am and were then arrested, charged and taken to court in an unmarked police vehicle.
Both were released on R1 000 bail and will have to appear in court on January 17.
Their bail conditions include avoiding similar assault incidents and not interfering with the investigation.
The day was filled with suspense as there was a delay in delivering the police docket to the court, prolonging the councillors’ time in the holding cells.
They eventually appeared before magistrate Sanjani Naidoo shortly before 4pm.
A large group of ANC members and councillors turned up at the court to support their comrades.
They cheered, hugged each other and sang revolutionary songs as Lungisa and Maqula left the court.
Lungisa was identified by investigators through cellphone video footage as allegedly being the man who hit DA councillor Rano Kayser over the head with a glass water jug during the meeting on Thursday.
Lungisa has laid a counter complaint of assault against Kayser, saying he had been acting in self defence.
Maqula is accused of stabbing DA chief whip Werner Senekal in the back during the council meeting.
Both Maqula and Lungisa referred questions to the ANC.
ANC chief whip Litho Suka said the party would also open criminal cases against DA councillors for assault and for the discharge of a firearm in the council chamber.
Mayor Athol Trollip said last week that a security official had fired a warning shot into the ceiling to stop the brawl inside the Woolboard Exchange building.
However, Suka said it was reckless, adding that Trollip was arrogant and did not care about the lives of black people.
“How can a person use a firearm to save lives? Someone could have died because they were using live ammunition,” he said.
“We’re not going to be intimidated by the courts and our members will continue performing their duties.”
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that Maqula was already serving a non-custodial sentence for kidnapping and beating an 18-year-old boy in Kwazakhele in 2014.
Maqula was convicted in August last year and sentenced to three years under correctional supervision and 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for five years.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said Maqula and two relatives beat the teenager, whom they accused of burglary, with spanners, poured boiling water over him and threw knives and glass bottles at him.
Department of Correctional Services spokesman Zama Feni confirmed that Maqula was still serving his sentence.
“He was never admitted in the centre as he was sentenced straight to community corrections, which means he was to serve a non-custodial sentence but render a community service under the supervision of a nearby community corrections office,” Feni said.
He said Maqula’s supervision conditions included house arrest and home inspections by officials.
“If he commits a crime while on correctional supervision, we will refer him to the courts to make a decision whether to sentence him to imprisonment and the suspended sentence brought into operation,” Feni said.
He said they would await a police report confirming his rearrest before sending the matter to the court for a decision.
ANC Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane said he was not aware of Maqula’s conviction.
He said, however, that by law a person sentenced to less than a year in jail could not be excluded from the process of nominating and choosing councillor candidates.
Mabuyane said he would look into Maqula’s previous conviction.
On the charge against Lungisa, he said Lungisa had no intention of assaulting speaker Jonathan Lawack.
“He had to fight back because DA people were attacking him. So, it was self-defence,” Mabuyane said. – Additional reporting by Rochelle de Kock