Factional funerals now a trend
Concerns of political point-scoring as ANC Youth League prepares to bury secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa
IF the recent trend of speeches at highly publicised memorial services being reduced to collections of bitter words is anything to go by, the jury is still out on whether former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa’s burial tomorrow in KwaZulu-Natal will follow suite.
With Magaqa’s funeral taking place in Umzimkhulu, having already been marred by tit for tat public spats between his ANC colleagues and EFF supporters over his party political allegiance, fears are mounting that Magaqa’s funeral will set the stage for political ructions to play out.
The ANCYL moved to allay fears this week that Magaqa’s funeral would resemble those of the late Reverend Makhenkesi Stofile and ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathdrada, where deep-seated anger over internal party squabbles accumulated in the fibre of the organisation to find its way out at such events.
With EFF leader Julius Malema having vowed to attend Magaqa’s funeral, regardless of whether the ANC liked it or not, ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza this week said Magaqa’s funeral would be incident free.
“We would like to reaffirm that there will not be any fights. We call for maximum discipline of all people who are going to be attending the funeral of comrade Sindiso Magaqa,” Nzuza said.
This after the ANC in KZN recently said Malema resorted to a downright “lie” when he claimed that the league had invited him to attend Magaqa’s funeral.
“It pains the ANCYL to have to challenge these lies and deliberate distortions by Malema during this difficult time of grieving of our own,” ANCYL provincial secretary Thandoxulo Sabelo said.
Magaqa’s funeral not only comes against the background of the Moerane Commission of Inquiry probing alleged political killings in the province but also a recent Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling which annulled the election results of the party’s 2015 provincial congress.
Malema provoked the ire of the ANCYL with a fiery and blunt open letter on Magaqa’s passing.
In the letter, Malema said the ANCYL was using Magaqa’s funeral for political point scoring.
“It is sickening and shattering at the same time for Magaqa’s name to be used to score cheap political and fameseeking points. Needless to say, I do not need anyone’s invitation to bury Magaqa,” Malema said.
While the funeral of spokesperson to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ronnie Mamoepa, went incident free against the background of heightened tensions within the ANC, National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete received a backlash in May at a funeral service in Verena of kids who died after the minibus transporting them was involved in an accident on Groblersdal Road, just past Bronkhorstspruit.
Mbete was accused of being insensitive by using the occasion to condemn anti-President Jacob Zuma protestors at the height of #ZumaMustFall demonstrations.
“Even if they toyi-toyi, even if they know how to do demonstrations, we don’t pay attention to them because all they say is just noise,” Mbete had said.