Judges slam Andile Lungisa over assault case comments

23 September 2020 - 18:54
Supreme Court of Appeal and Eastern Cape judges are demanding a retraction from Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa on remarks he made about the judiciary.
Supreme Court of Appeal and Eastern Cape judges are demanding a retraction from Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa on remarks he made about the judiciary.
Image: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile

Some of SA's top judges have demanded a retraction of remarks made by former ANC youth league leader Andile Lungisa that his case was unfairly decided because of political pressure and affiliation.

Lungisa is currently serving a two-year sentence in the North End Prison in Port Elizabeth, after being convicted of assault. This comes after a 2016 incident in which he smashed a glass water jug over a DA councilor's head during a heated council meeting.

He is awaiting a court's decision on his bail application pending an application for leave to appeal his sentence filed at the Constitutional Court. A decision is expected by Friday.

“These allusive and false remarks, which undermine the integrity of the judiciary and judicial independence and constitute contempt of court and crimen injuria offences, are reported to have been made when Mr Lungisa handed himself over to authorities at the North End Prison in Port Elizabeth to begin serving his two-year sentence following a conviction on charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm,” read a statement from the office of the chief justice.

The office of the chief justice said any criticism against the judiciary should be fair and made in “good” faith.

“More importantly, such criticism should be specific and clear. Efforts to discredit the judiciary by levelling allegations of corruption against the judiciary as a whole or against individual judges without proof, or seeking to allude to an alignment between individual judges and political figures or roleplayers without any further substantiation, must be condemned,” it said.

“In those instances where judges are believed to have conducted themselves unethically or unlawfully, other arms of the state, entities or members of the public should make use of the structures set up to address such concerns, and report them to the Judicial Conduct Committee of the Judicial Service Commission and relevant law enforcement agencies.”

The justices said any person with “credible” evidence of corruption or undue influence within the judiciary should come forward, produce the evidence and be willing to testify to it in a court of law or before any commission of enquiry.

“Without evidence, such allegations cannot be investigated.” 

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