Despair at slain Magaqa’s funeral
Former ANC Youth League secretarygeneral laid to rest in Umzimkhulu
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.
MOBBED: Mourners gathered at the funeral of Sindiso Magaqa yesterday.