EXPLAINED: Who is Andile Lungisa and why are people upset with him getting parole?

Andile Lungisa is out on parole.
Picture: FILE/ EUGENE COETZEE

The release of former ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa on parole, has angered many South Africans who took to social media to call out the ruling party for “wasting taxpayers money”.

One Twitter user shared: “What was the point of Andile Lungisa going to ‘prison’ wasting our tax money, court & police resources when he’s gonna be out in 2 mins? He could have just said his sorry and let it go. I can’t believe he is out after all that noise.”

Here’s what you need to now about Lungisa:

His position and charges

Lungisa is a former ANC councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in September for the assault of DA councillor Rano Kayser, after he smashed a glass water jug over his head during an altercation during a heated council meeting in 2016.

He was convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 2018. His membership in the ruling party was suspended, which he challenged.

Before the start of his sentence, he was out on R10,000 bail.

The former councillor filed an application to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against the sentence. In his application, he said that he was treated differently because he was a politician and he was not suited to the unpalatable food, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, risk of violence and degrading ablution facilities that come with a prison sentence.

This appeal was dismissed.

Correctional services announce his release, saying it is in line with the law

Just 75 days after he surrendered himself to the North End Prison for his sentence, the correctional services department announced on Tuesday that he had been released on parole.

A spokesperson for the department, Singabakho Nxumalo, said Lungisa was a first-time offender who had responded positively to rehabilitation programmes. He said his release was in line with the law.

He said Lungisa’s sentence was reduced by 12 months after President Cyril Ramaphosa granted special remission in 2019.

“This parole placement means that Lungisa will serve the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, wherein he will be expected to comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until the sentence expires,” said Nxumalo.

‘Political prisoner’ Lungisa calls for renewed leadership in ANC 

In his first public address on Tuesday, “political prisoner” Lungisa, and other ANC leaders criticised Ramaphosa’s leadership and called for new leadership in the party.

“It’s high time we’re able to march and not blame Mandela and Oliver Tambo. It’s our responsibility to take the country forward and forge a new path. It’s a path where the ANC must be forced to adapt. We need to change the ANC,” said Lungisa.

Surprised and upset

Social media was filled with reaction after Lungisa’s release, with many claiming that the justice system seemed to work quickly in his matter, when so many ordinary South Africans faced constant delays in getting justice.

By Cebelihle Bhengu – TimesLIVE

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