Council brawl 'water jug' accused to face civil lawsuit

Kayser confirms plans to sue councillor now defending criminal charges after jug attack Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, who is in the dock defending criminal charges against him, is also going to be hit with a civil lawsuit by the councillor he bashed on the head with a glass jug. DA mayoral committee member Rano Kayser said yesterday he planned to sue Lungisa when the court case – which is on the go in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court – was concluded. Lungisa is charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after an assault in the chaotic October 2016 council meeting left Kayser bleeding profusely from a large gash to the back of his head. “I am in the process of consulting senior counsel with the intention to pursue civil action against Andile Lungisa,” Kayser said. “The civil action will have no bearing on the criminal system.” Asked what he would be suing Lungisa for, Kayser said he was still compiling the details with his lawyer and would reveal this later. He would not say how much money he was planning to sue for. “I will sue for expenses, but any demands will be announced once decided upon with my senior counsel,” Kayser said. Lungisa declined to comment. Meanwhile, Lungisa was put on the spot in court yesterday when the state highlighted inconsistencies in his testimony and accused him of flouting council rules. During cross-examination by prosecutor Wayne Ludick, Lungisa insisted several times on demonstrating how DA councillor Johnny Arends had allegedly grabbed him by his right shoulder while twisting his right arm behind his back.

But after video footage of the incident was shown to the court, Lungisa changed his testimony. He then said he had moved backwards when Kayser came toward him in an aggressive manner. Ludick told Lungisa numerous times that he was evading questions when asked to explain his actions which had led to Kayser being knocked unconscious and bleeding from the head. He accused Lungisa of changing his version of events and contradicting the statement he had given to police as well as his earlier evidence on Monday. Lungisa had claimed on Monday that he was manhandled by Arends and felt threatened by this after he tried to approach council speaker Jonathan Lawack. Lungisa said he intended to ask Lawack to adjourn the meeting so he could speak to ANC councillors to calm them down. Kayser had testified previously that he was trying to protect Lawack from Lungisa’s advances during the chaos, when he was hit with the jug. He denied being hostile toward Lungisa. Ludick also asked Lungisa to read excerpts from the council rule book, specifically protocols during council meetings.

After reading the excerpts on how councillors must not come between other councillors and the speaker during debates, Ludick said Lungisa had flouted the rules by going directly to the speaker’s table. “The speaker had lost control of the council,” Lungisa said. Magistrate Morne Cannon reprimanded Lungisa for not answering Ludick’s questions. “I did adhere to all the rules but the situation was very volatile,” Lungisa said. In his statement to the police, Lungisa claimed Kayser had tried to punch him and he had ducked. Yesterday, Lungisa told the court he had seen Kayser coming towards him, rolling up his sleeves. He claimed that Kayser came at him with an open hand which almost hit his face. “I had my eyes closed and grabbed a nearby jug.” He said he was merely elaborating on the information he had given police and his earlier evidence. He admitted knowing he had hit Kayser with the jug but claimed he had only intended to throw water at him to ward off the alleged attack. Ludick told Lungisa there was no indication in video footage that Arends had held his arm behind his back. He said it was Lungisa who had tried to slap Kayser, which Lungisa vehemently denied. Lungisa also claimed he had been hit “several times” on his back with a flagpole. But after the video footage was shown, he conceded that it was only once. Ludick said he wanted it on record that Lungisa was evading questions. Ludick said there was no evidence in the footage that Kayser had attacked Lungisa. “[Kayser’s] hand went up because you slapped him,” he said. The case resumes on April 3.