Lungisa told to step down from mayoral committee
“I never stole money. I did not go and fight in the streets. I simply defended myself when I was attacked by a member of the DA.”
This was the reaction of Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa to an instruction by his Eastern Cape bosses that he must step down as a member of the city’s mayoral committee.
Lungisa was convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm earlier this year for hitting DA councillor Rano Kayser over the head with a glass jug and sentenced to an effective two years in prison.
He is appealing against the conviction and sentence in the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda (Grahamstown).
Until that process is completed, Lungisa has been asked to step down as a senior leader representing the party as a mayoral committee member in charge of the infrastructure and engineering department.
He will remain an ordinary councillor.
The ANC’s provincial working committee was in the Bay on Monday to assess the regional structure and also to instruct it to implement what it said was a decision by the national bosses that Lungisa must step down as mayoral committee member.
But Lungisa was adamant last night that there was no such decision.
“There’s no decision of the NEC like that, but we’ll engage internally,” he said.
“I’m a member of the ANC, I know all the decisions of the NEC.
“The matter was raised with the councillors of the ANC and I’ll challenge any decision that seeks to undermine any member of the ANC when we never stole money, never attacked anyone on the street.
“I was attacked by a member of the opposition.
“I will defend that case up to the last level because I simply protected myself under attack.”
The provincial working committee held a lengthy meeting that lasted almost the whole day on Monday.
The meeting was attended by the party’s top five in the province, including chair Oscar Mabuyane, secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi and deputy chair Mlungisi Mvoko.
ANC provincial spokesperson Gift Ngqondi told journalists at the party’s regional headquarters, Florence Matomela House, that they were merely communicating an NEC decision.
Asked why Lungisa was not being removed as a councillor, Ngqondi said: “Lungisa has appealed his case, he has petitioned the Grahamstown High Court.
“The ANC cannot just remove comrade Andile Lungisa as an ordinary councillor because that case is still on.”
Acting regional chair Phumzile Tshuni said: “As the REC, we are expected to sit down and make sure that the provincial working committee decision is implemented because the matter has been handed over to the REC.”
Tshuni said it was not a good position for anyone to lose his or her position, but the organisation had taken a decision which the regional leaders had to make sure it adhered to.
Meanwhile, Lungisa supporters had gathered outside Florence Matomela House from early in the day, demanding to speak to party bosses.
They sang struggle songs and demanded to know why they planned to fire Lungisa as a mayoral committee member.
ANC member Unathi Skade said there had been reports for the past week that the working committee would disband the REC and remove Lungisa, but no reasons had been given.
“We don’t know why they want to remove Lungisa because no-one has spoken to the structures, processes were not followed. We’re being led by the regional office but we are branch leaders and no-one has told us anything,” Skade said.
An ANC member who was at the meeting said Lungisa and convicted fraudster ANC ward 20 councillor Bongo Nombiba sat separately while their fate was discussed.
The member said there was no way the working committee would fire Lungisa from the ANC because the party would lose support.
“He’s a hard worker and should they fire him, chairs would fly out the windows of Florence Matomela.
“We don’t mind the region removing him as MMC because that’s a minor thing, but there’s no way they can remove him from the organisation,” the member said.
Apart from Lungisa, Ngqondi said the ANC was also making assessments on all the regions and had started out in the OR Tambo Municipality.
“We came to assess the state of the organisation in the metro and not only that, the state of governance, because we are in a coalition with different political organisations without the mayorship.
“Some of our own members have been deployed in strategic mayoral positions.
“Now we’ll get a sense of the work they’ve been doing and challenges they face.”