Editorial | Criticism by ANC deeply disturbing

Andile Lungisa
Andile Lungisa
Image: Supplied/DispatchLIVE

You can only wonder whether the ANC actually thought through its knee-jerk response to the conviction of Andile Lungisa before making the absurd assertion it was a political ploy to destroy him.

Regional secretary Themba Xathula’s attack on magistrate Morne Cannon is nothing short of a complete failure to fully grasp how our judiciary works and as such, is deeply disturbing.

It would be laughable if it were not so concerning that the party could somehow believe it can blur a clear-cut act of violence with such an ill-disguised smokescreen.

For the ANC to demand that Cannon be removed from the case for not being sensitive to the “political implications” of the conviction, is absolute drivel.

A magistrate’s job is to oversee the criminal justice system.

Let us remember Lungisa was on trial for a serious crime – that of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, for which he was found guilty.
That the felony took place in a “political space”, as the ANC puts it – a council meeting where people like Lungisa are supposed to be going about the business of running the city – has absolutely nothing to do with his unlawful actions.

As Cannon made quite clear in his judgment, it was not a political matter but a criminal case.

To suggest otherwise would be tantamount to trying to excuse someone who attempted to assassinate the president on the grounds that the would-be killer was attending a political rally.

And as the National Prosecuting Authority has pointed out, the court was simply doing its job and the ANC would have to utilise the same judicial process if it felt otherwise.

The court was not attempting to “criminalise” Lungisa, as Xathula claims may have been its objective.

The evidence shows he did a good enough job of that single-handedly.