Fam­ily point fin­ger fol­low­ing shoot­ing

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - THAMI MAGUBANE

THE fam­ily of ANC coun­cil­lor Sindiso Ma­gaqa have spo­ken out for the first time, de­tail­ing the cir­cum­stances lead­ing to his shoot­ing on Thurs­day.

They have pointed the fin­ger of blame at the Umz­imkhulu coun­cil, say­ing that what hap­pened to him started inside the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

In the past four months, they said, things were get­ting very bad, to the ex­tent that he had to hire body­guards at his own cost.

The fam­ily said the mur­der of Umz­imkhulu Speaker Khaya Tho­bela in April mo­ti­vated Ma­gaqa to hire body­guards.

Ma­gaqa and fel­low coun­cil­lors Non­sikelelo Mafa and Jabu Mz­izi were shot while seated in a car in Umz­imkhulu on Thurs­day.

The Star’s sis­ter pa­per, The Mer­cury, un­der­stands that he is still in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion, but is im­prov­ing. His fam­ily and friends have re­fused to give an update on his con­di­tion or the ex­tent of his in­juries.

“The is­sues inside the coun­cil are to blame for this shoot­ing,” said his cousin Vusi Dlamini. “My cousin has been in politics all his life – he started in school and noth­ing ever hap­pened to him. He moved to Dur­ban and then to Jo­han­nes­burg (where he was sec­re­tary-gen­eral) of the ANC Youth league. When it was dis­banded, he re­turned home, and there were no is­sues.

“The prob­lems started when he joined the Umz­imkhulu coun­cil. He started in­ves­ti­gat­ing things that were not go­ing right and be­came a tar­get,” Dlamini said.

Ma­gaqa be­came a PR coun­cil­lor for the ANC af­ter the lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions in Au­gust last year.

Dlamini said Ma­gaqa had tried to probe de­lays in the build­ing of a com­mu­nity hall.

“The hall was tak­ing a very long time to com­plete and he got in­volved and, there­after, the threats to his life started.

“He was fol­lowed around by un­known cars, and in one in­stance, a car fol­lowed his car to a fu­neral. On the day he was shot he was with a body­guard, but had sent him to buy air­time. It’s clear those who shot him were wait­ing for that op­por­tu­nity,” said Dlamini.

He said the shoot­ing had shocked and dev­as­tated their fam­ily and Ma­gaqa’s part­ner. “She is strug­gling. We are also fear­ful and need po­lice pro­tec­tion.”

Ma­gaqa’s friend, Les Stuta, said: “For the past few months, we were care­ful about where we went be­cause of the threats.”

A for­mer coun­cil­lor, who de­clined to be named, con­curred with the fam­ily’s ac­cu­sa­tion, say­ing: “Th­ese are in­ter­nal is­sues in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. There are also is­sues at branches. Things started go­ing wrong lead­ing up to lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions last year.”

The mayor of Umz­imkhulu, Mphuthumi Mpa­banga, said he tried to visit Ma­gaqa in hos­pi­tal on Sun­day but was not al­lowed ac­cess as he was not on the list of ap­proved vis­i­tors.

He said coun­cil­lors were liv­ing in fear and the coun­cil was plan­ning to pro­vide se­cu­rity to those who were threat­ened.

“Peo­ple are be­ing killed and we do not know where the at­tacks are com­ing from or why.”

The is­sues inside the coun­cil are to blame for this


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