De­spair at slain Ma­gaqa’s funeral

For­mer ANC Youth League sec­re­tary­gen­eral laid to rest in Umz­imkhulu

The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - LUNGANI ZUNGU

ASOMBRE but tense mood topped with rev­o­lu­tion­ary songs pre­vailed at Sindiso Ma­gaqa’s funeral yes­ter­day at Umz­imkhulu sports­field, in south­ern KwaZulu-Natal.

The gath­er­ing of the for­mer ANC youth league sec­re­tary-gen­eral also drew to­gether spar­ring fac­tions of the party from the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma was listed in the pro­gramme as a speaker but did not ar­rive.

EFF leader Julius Malema, who served with Ma­gaqa in the youth league while he was pres­i­dent, also did not at­tend.

Speaker af­ter speaker at the emo­tion­ally-charged funeral de­scribed how Ma­gaqa, 34, de­voted his life to the strug­gle of young peo­ple. Strug­gle songs saw com­rades hold­ing each other’s hands and chant­ing to­gether de­spite their dif­fer­ences.

Re­cently, Bheki Cele and KZN pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala squared off af­ter Cele said the NEC, of which he is a part, was fail­ing to lead the peo­ple.

Zikalala re­sponded, say­ing Cele must lead by ex­am­ple and be the first to re­sign from the NEC. They were sep­a­rated by a few chairs.

For­mer chair­per­son and premier Senzo Mchunu’s al­lies were also in at­ten­dance fol­low­ing the court judg­ment that the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship led by Zikalala was “un­law­ful and void”.

ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize, who led the NEC mem­bers at the funeral said it was a tragedy to lose a “shin­ing star” like Ma­gaqa.

Mkhize urged the ANC, the po­lice and the gov­ern­ment to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Ma­gaqa’s mur­der.

Mkhize was slightly dis­rupted when a strong wind blasted through the sports­field, spark­ing fear among some mourn­ers who swiftly dashed out of the mar­quee.

Ma­gaqa, who was elected as ANC pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion coun­cil­lor dur­ing last year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, was shot in July along­side ANC coun­cil­lors in Umz­imkhulu, Jab­ulile Mz­izi and Non­sikelelo Mafa. They sur­vived.

He died last week in Chief Al­bert Luthuli Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal from the wounds he sus­tained.

Ad­dress­ing the mourn­ers, Zikalala urged the mem­bers of the ANC to unite and rid the party of the fac­tions plagu­ing it. He also took a swipe at busi­ness­man Jo­hann Ru­pert say­ing he was ar­ro­gant, fol­low­ing his com­ments that the so-called rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion was a ploy to loot the public purse.

“This is be­cause we are at our weak­est point, com­rades. We must unite, com­rades,” he said.

Clad in ANC T-shirts with Ma­gaqa’s face and the words, “Fear­less Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighter-Ad­vo­cate of Our Gen­er­a­tional Mis­sion”, mourn­ers packed the mar­quee with some over­flow­ing to other smaller mar­quees.

Ma­gaqa’s niece, Yo­lakazi, broke down in tears on stage while de­liv­er­ing her trib­ute. De­spite this, she man­aged to pull through her speech with tears stream­ing down her face.

His un­cle, Mapolo Dlamini pleaded with the po­lice to ar­rest the killers.

Ma­gaqa’s friend and ANC mem­ber, Less Stuta said he was “def­i­nitely” killed be­cause of his stand against cor­rup­tion. This stemmed, he said, from an in­com­plete com- mu­nity hall in Umz­imkhulu, which cost mil­lions of rands, which Ma­gaqa was vo­cal about in ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ings in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

De­liv­er­ing a mes­sage on be­half of Ma­gaqa’s wife, Stuta said: “I prayed for you be­fore I met you. My love I saw you fight­ing for your life in hos­pi­tal. Go well my love I will al­ways love you.”

There was a heavy po­lice pres­ence who were keep­ing a close eye on mourn­ers.

Ma­gaqa’s mother, Agnes, said: “I will al­ways re­mem­ber you, you will al­ways be my child and you will al­ways be in my heart. Thank you for all the things you have done for me.”

Her mes­sage was read by Tho­bela Dlamini.

Among those present was presi- den­tial hope­ful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who got thun­der­ous ap­plause when in­tro­duced.

NEC mem­ber Nomvula Mokonyane, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba, ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa and mem­bers of the pro­vin­cial cab­i­net were also present.

Hymns sung by the Methodist Church choir re­ver­ber­ated with ANC mem­bers join­ing in.

Youth league sec­re­tary-gen­eral Njab­ulo Nzuza said, “We must mourn, cel­e­brate and learn from this sit­u­a­tion. Sindiso was bru­tally killed by crim­i­nals. We want the per­pe­tra­tors brought to book.”

Ma­gaqa was a fear­less fighter who con­trib­uted to the strug­gle of the youth, he said.

Nzuza urged ANC mem­bers to unite ahead of the elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

PIC­TURE: LEON LESTRADE/ANA

MOBBED: Mourn­ers gath­ered at the funeral of Sindiso Ma­gaqa yes­ter­day.

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