Enock Seimela, who is the regional chairperson of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in Damonsville, was said to have been shot by police while trying to help injured Osia Rahube during protest marches against water shortages in Mothotlung, near Brits.
Rahube was the first of four people killed in the Mothotlung protest.
Seimela was not part of the protest, according to his friends Pasture Maremo and Paul Hendriks.
Hendriks states that Seimela was on his way to town when the shooting began and stopped to help Rahube.
"Enock was shot with his hands up, trying to stop the protesters … My question is: who gave the police the instruction to shoot? It was a peaceful protest," asks Maremo.
Seimela was declared dead at 5am on Monday morning at Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa after a seven-day coma.
"He was a leader of the community and breadwinner for his family," said Hendriks.
"This [Seimela’s death] is very sad and very painful. He was a very dedicated leader to the community," said Maremo, who is also the regional chairperson of Sanco in Bojanala, Rustenburg.
Sanco held its elective conference in Mthatha this past weekend. Seimela was due to attend.
At the conference, President Jacob Zuma called on Sanco members to work out their differences with the ANC, saying they played a pivotal role in mobilising protesters in last week’s march.
Seimela was thought to be part of a "hit-list" emanating from political infighting amongst the ANC’s provincial structures in the North West, according to various community members.
Last week, ANC chief whip in the Madibeng municipality, Solly Malete, hinted to the Mail & Guardian that the protests could be linked to the ANC’s power struggles within the province.
Maremo speculated that Seimela could have been targeted by police due to his political involvement with the community.
"The person who shot him [Enock] knew him. The police escorted the protestors from Mothotlung to Damonsville then shot at protestors. Why didn’t they stop the protest in Mothotlung? Why did they start shooting at Damonsville?" asked Maremo.
The deceased protesters, who include Seimela, Rahube, Mike Tshele and Lerato Seema, all seem to have one binding factor in common: political involvement. Rahube and Tshele were both politically active and were outspoken about poor service delivery in their community. Seema was involved in the ANC Youth League and was said to have had the improvement of his community at heart.
Seimela will be buried in Burgersfort, Limpopo on Saturday. His memorial service will be held on Thursday in Damonsville. He leaves behind a wife, who is currently unemployed, and a child.