Andile Lungisa is paroled, confirms correctional service department

After much confusion last week, the Correctional Services Department confirmed on Tuesday that the jailed ANC councillor would be released from prison on parole.

FILE: Andile Lungisa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Correctional Services confirmed on Tuesday that ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa was released from prison on parole.

The department said in a statement that the release conditions were in accordance with the law.

"Classified as a first time offender with a positive support system, and having responded positively to rehabilitation programmes, parole placement for Lungisa is in line with Section 73(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act. The Act determines the minimum period of sentence that must be served before consideration for possible parole placement. This must be read together with Section 276(1)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act as it stipulates a mandatory one sixth of the sentence to be served before any consideration for parole," the statement read.

There was much confusion last week after a group of his supporters called Free Lungisa Campaign - who called him a "hero among heroes" - confirmed they were aware that Lungisa would be released, while the Correctional Services Department last week Friday told Eyewitness News it had no knowledge of such a development.

Lungisa was sentenced to two years in prison for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after hitting a Democratic Alliance councillor with a glass jug on the head during a heated council meeting in 2016. He began his sentence on 9 May 2018 and was released on 25 May pending a lengthy bail application, which was unsuccessful. He returned to prison to begin serving his sentence on 17 September 2020. He served a little over two months of the sentence.

Lungisa was granted a special remission of sentences.

"The Special Remission of Sentences granted by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 16 December 2019 reduced Lungisa’s sentence by 12 months. Over 14,000 inmates benefitted from the Special Remission of Sentence," the statement read.

"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," the department said.

Correctional Services also emphasised the importance of welcoming parolees back into communities.

"The role of society cannot be underestimated in the process of placing parolees back into communities. It is important that parolees be accepted and supported so that they can be fully reintegrated into society and be given an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution," it continued in its statement.

But it included that the parole system, while "progressive" and "based on international best practice", depended on the offender.

"Offenders who are placed on parole are expected to comply with conditions and failure to comply may result in the parolee, depending on the frequency and seriousness of the violations, having parole revoked and sent back to a correctional facility," it said.

Lungisa is expected to have a media briefing with Free Lungisa Campaign at 10 am on Tuesday morning.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.