- S v Lungisa (696/2019)  ZASCA 99 (9 September 2020) (SCA)
Mr Andile Lungisa, the accused, was convicted on 17 April 2018 before the magistrate’s court, Port Elizabeth (“the trial court”) on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. On 6 May 2018, he was sentenced to three years’ incarceration of which one year was conditionally suspended for a period of five years.
Aggrieved by this outcome, the accused appealed to the High Court, Makhanda against both his conviction and sentence. On 2 April 2019, this appeal was dismissed - this High Court only adjusted the condition attached to the suspended portion of his sentence.
Still not satisfied with this outcome, the accused appealed again - but only against sentence - to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein (“the SCA”) where the appeal was heard before a full bench of five judges.
As a matter of interest, on 9 September 2020 the SCA judgment was published online. This SCA judgment consists of two columns. The left-sided column (hereinafter referred to as column 1) features the English version of the judgment, while the right-sided column (column 2) features the isiXhosa version of the judgment. As far as Pollex can remember, it is the first time that any court judgment in the RSA appears in this format.
The SCA (in paragraph  of column 1 of its judgment), presented a brief summary of the chain of events which preceded the way to the SCA. These events are that the accused’s conviction emanates from events which took place in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council (“the Council”) chamber at a meeting held on 27 October 2016. At that meeting the accused, who is a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and was, at the time of the incident, its leader in the Council, grievously assaulted Mr Ryno Kayser (“the complainant”), a Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor. The incident, which was recorded by Mr Ronaldo Gouws, also a DA councillor, on his cellphone, occurred during a debate involving the conduct of another ANC councillor, Mr Sabani, at a previous meeting. Due to the fact that a matter concerning him was to be discussed, the Speaker, Mr Jonathan Lawack had requested Mr Sabani to leave the Chamber. Mr Sabani refused to do so causing the Speaker to call for security personnel to remove him. Security members were prevented from approaching Mr Sabani by certain members of the Council, including the accused.
A motion which caused consternation among ANC councillors was adopted by the Council in respect of Mr Sabani. The meeting then descended into chaos. At this point, the accused and another ANC councillor, Mr Feni, approached the Speaker's precinct. Mr Feni grabbed the Speaker by the arm and the complainant moved towards the Speaker's table to intervene. It is at this stage that the accused hit the complainant on his head with a glass jug filled with water. The complainant fell to the ground and bled profusely. He became unconscious and was taken to hospital, where he received medical treatment. He sustained a 3 cm long and 1 cm deep laceration with an underlying haematoma on the left temple, a small flap laceration on the left ear, multiple linear abrasions (about 5 to 10 cm long) on the left side of the neck from which pieces of glass had to be surgically removed, and a “deep” 4 cm long abrasion on the upper chest. The laceration on his left temple was saturated.