Family point finger following shooting
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