When we talk about land we mean serious (urban) property - Andile Lungisa

Following his release on bail ANC NMB councillor says Joburg, PE and Cape Town must be returned to people

Lungisa: They fear me because I raise the issue of land

ANC provincial heavyweight, Andile Lungisa used his first moments after being released on bail to call for the amendment of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

Earlier on Friday, Lungisa was released on R10 000 bail, pending an application to the Judge President at the Eastern Cape High Court in Grahamstown for leave to appeal his conviction and sentencing. He had been behind bars since May 9.

He was previously found guilty of smashing a glass jug over the head of former member of the Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral committee Rano Kayser during a council meeting in October 2016. He was sentenced to an effective two years in jail.

Following his release, supporters clad in ANC and EFF regalia, welcomed Lungisa with open arms. They had been camped outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court since 08:00, waiting for the outcome of his bail application, despite the rain and miserable weather.

Feared because of stance on land

Acknowledging the members who had come to show their support, Lungisa was quick to highlight his relationship with EFF leader Julius Malema. Malema was previously the president of the ANC Youth League and Lungisa was his deputy at the time.

"You must know that Comrade Julius is taken to various courts on the basis of him being feared. I know I am taken to various courts because I am being feared, because we are part of the generation that raised the issue of land," he said.

Lungisa added that Parliament was focusing on the land issue because his generation had brought it back to the table.

"We are not going to support any call which seeks to elevate the act instead of amending the Constitution. We are not going to be diverted," he said.

"Our call is we must amend Section 25. It must be clear we are talking about expropriation of land without compensation."

Land expropriation without compensation not about farms

Lungisa said the issue of land expropriation without compensation was not about farms.

"When we talk about expropriation, we are not talking about we want to go and plant spinach and onions. The question of land is being reduced like we want to go and work on the farms."

"When we talk about land being returned, we are talking about this town, Port Elizabeth. When we talk about land, we say that town called Cape Town ... must be returned back to our people.

"We are talking about that town called Johannesburg, which was built on the sweat and exploitation of the mine workers.

"We are talking about serious property. That is why we are saying we must tamper with property rights," he said.

Communities must occupy land

Lungisa also said that, while the process of amending the Constitution was under way, the communities who did not have land should occupy any available land.

"Our people need to be settled immediately, those who do not have pieces of land. We are not going to wait for houses to be built," he said.

"While we continue with this struggle, our people are not going to wait for that. Our people must be settled," he added.

Disappointed by outcome of the court

Speaking about the court case, Lungisa said he was disappointed by the outcome of the court case, saying he had merely defended himself.

"Everyone knows Andile Lungisa was standing. He was attacked by three councillors from the DA. They had no authority of moving from their own seats.

"They had no business of moving from their chairs and [going] and [attacking] Andile Lungisa. I only defended myself from the attack and then ran away," he said.

"We respect the judiciary in this country, but we are saying the judiciary must be fair. Because, if the judiciary is not fair, there will be a time where we will not be able to respect the judiciary," he said.

"I never went to any chair. I never attacked any colleague who is a councillor. I was attacked as a political commissar in [the] ANC, without attacking any councillor," he said.

"Even in that video, you can watch that video a number of times, and you will see I never attacked any councillor, I was attacked," he said.