The high court in Makhanda has granted Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor R10,000 bail pending his appeal bid at the Constitutional Court.
Judge Sunil Rugunanan made the ruling on Friday. “If I were to refuse bail and the application for leave to appeal is successful, whenever that may be, then the applicant will be deprived of his freedom unnecessarily and the interests of justice will not be served,” he said.
On the other hand, if Lungisa fails in his application, he would be required to immediately resume serving his two-year sentence, the judge added.
Lungisa has filed leave to appeal his sentence at the Constitutional Court after a similar bid failed at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) earlier this month.
He was convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 2018 after he smashed a glass jug on a fellow councillor’s head in 2016.
In his Constitutional Court appeal, Lungisa argues that the SCA failed to adequately consider his personal circumstances when it dismissed his appeal.
“In doing so, they have not, with respect, imposed a fair and justifiable sentence on me and have therefore fallen foul of [my] constitutional rights,” he says in court papers.
He claims that the courts have treated him differently because of his political standing, adding that he’s a first-time offender and has a wife and seven children.
Addressing supporters when he presented himself at the North End prison in Port Elizabeth last week, Lungisa claimed there was “collaboration” between a certain individual, the magistrate and the prosecutor assigned to his case.
He further claimed the husbands of SCA judges had been given “advisory positions” in the Eastern Cape Premier’s office and their children awarded contracts by the Eastern Cape provincial government.
However, the judges, led by SCA Judge President Mandisa Maya, denied Lungisa’s claims in a statement this week and demanded a retraction.
“Without evidence, such allegations cannot be investigated. The rights of President Maya, the SCA judges concerned and Judge President Selby Mbenenge remain reserved, and they have demanded a retraction of the offensive remarks from Mr Lungisa,” they said.