Congress of the People (COPE) has criticised the African National Congress (ANC) members who supported former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa when he was handing himself over to the North End Prison on Thursday to begin his two year prison sentence.

A group of ANC supporters mostly former ANC Youth League members gathered outside the prison in support of the former ANC Youth League deputy president.

Lungisa was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm after smashing a glass jug on the head of DA Councillor Ryno Kayser during a council meeting.

COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem says ANC members must know there’s no one above the law.

“It’s a total disgrace and shame to see that the ANC supports Lungisa who was sentenced for a very serious violent crime. Lungisa’s offence was pure criminality and has nothing to do with politics. Factional infighting within the ANC must stay with them and have nothing to do with the judiciary,” adds Bloem.

On Thursday, a group of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members from the Nelson Mandela Bay region joined ANC members in support of Lungisa.

EFF Regional Spokesperson Luvuyo Ponase says: “We are seeing that it is beyond the issue of the council meeting, but it has gone further to be the persecution of the individual. Therefore even in our moving away from the ANC, we made it clear that in the EFF or any other organisation, we would not want discipline to be used to push narrow political agendas.”

“That is why we are here. At the same time we know Andile Lungisa, we worked with him in council. Some of us even know him from our days in the youth league where he was our deputy president.”

In the video below, supporters say they are behind Lungisa until the very end: