New delay by defence in councillor’s case angers court
Assault accused Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa is not giving up just yet.
Determined for his criminal matter to not proceed to trial, his lawyer has now approached the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) in a bid to have the charges withdrawn after earlier attempts to do so – on a local level – failed.
This means National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams will have the final say on whether the case goes to trial or not.
The latest delay angered the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday, with magistrate Morne Cannon putting his foot down on any further postponements.
Cannon said should formal written representations to the NDPP fail, the matter would be heard on January 22.
He said he would not entertain any further delays past that date.
Lungisa, 39, and Ward 19 ANC councillor Gamalihleli Maqula, 28, face charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after they allegedly attacked two opposition party members during a heated council meeting in October last year.
It is alleged Lungisa smashed a water jug over DA councillor Rano Kayser’s head, while Maqula allegedly stabbed DA chief whip Werner Senekal in the back with a sharp object.
The incident was captured on footage filmed by DA PR councillor Renaldo Gouws, who was in court yesterday after being called to testify for the prosecution.
Other state witnesses include city manager Johann Mettler and DA ward councillor Gustav Rautenbach, all warned to be present for proceedings on January 22. Lungisa and Maqula stood aside from their DA counterparts yesterday before being led into the dock.
Prosecutor Wayne Ludick said he was not happy with yet another delay initiated by the defence, saying the state had been trial-ready.
In August, defence attorney Luthando Ngqakayi submitted representations to the provincial office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, asking that the charges against Lungisa and Maqula be withdrawn.
Lungisa remained confident at the time and addressed a media contingent outside court, adamant that the case against him and his co-accused would collapse.
The following month, the court heard that the representations had been unsuccessful.
Representations are privileged and the content thereof is therefore not before court.
Security outside the magistrate’s court was tight yesterday with the media barred from listening to the bulk of the proceedings.
When a security guard eventually allowed the journalists from the various media houses to enter court, much of the argument between the state and defence had already been concluded.