Former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa has died

Magaqa, a former student leader, rose to national prominence after being elected ANCYL secretary general in June 2011. (Gallo)

Magaqa, a former student leader, rose to national prominence after being elected ANCYL secretary general in June 2011. (Gallo)

Former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, who was wounded in a drive by shooting along with two ANC colleagues in Umzimkhulu in KwaZulu-Natal in July, has died from his injuries.

Magaqa, who was secretary general of the ANCYL at the time of its leadership’s disbandment in 2012, was shot along with fellow Umzimkhulu councillors Jabu Mzizi and Nonsikelelo Mafa outside a general dealer in the southern KwaZulu-Natal town after attending a council meeting.

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The attack, which is believed to have been linked to infighting in the ANC’s Harry Gwala region, followed the murder of another ANC councillor, Mduduzi Shibase of Ward 14, Gugwini Village, in May. Two weeks before Shibase (39) was killed, the speaker of the municipality, Khaya Thobela, who was also deputy secretary of the ANC region, was also gunned down.

Magaqa, who was part of the ANCYL leadership along with treasurer Pule Mabe and president Julius Malema, had returned to ANC politics and was elected as Ward 11 proportional representation councillor for Umzimkhulu last August.

A former student leader, Magaqa was suspended for a year from all ANC activities in 2012 following a disciplinary hearing which saw Malema expelled from the party.

The ANC confirmed his death.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party was saddened by the death of a member of a generation of ANCYL leaders who had fought for the realisation of economic emancipation.

‘’For their commitment to their convictions, Comrade Magaqa and his comrades suffered differences with the leadership of the organisation and marginalisation within the structures of the organisation,’’ he said.

Magaqa had, however, ‘’remained loyal’’ and had been deployed to Umzimkhulu after ‘’returning to the fold.’’

‘’He lived his life boldly and courageously, in even the most trying times. He will be remembered as a gentle soul and a fearless fighter.’’

Mabe posted on social media shortly after Magaqa’s death that they had spoken on the telephone recently and that he had planned to visit his former colleague at the weekend.

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‘’Having served with you at what became the most difficult and challenging period for the youth movement, I personally came to appreciate your love for our movement, the ANC.
You assured me that you were going to bounce back with time. Seeing you and spending time with you at the recently held national policy conference was a living proof that you heart has always been with the people and on the side of progress. Good bye Gaqas and fare thee well,’’ Mabe wrote.

Magaqa’s death is the latest in a wave of political killings - the bulk of them involving ANC councillors or branch and regional officials - that have swept KwaZulu-Natal since the middle of last year, when tensions reached boiling point over the governing party’s councillor selection processes. The situation has now been worsened by fresh tension ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

Last week Kwazi Mkhize, an ANC ward councillor at Camperdown, was shot dead after an ANC branch meeting. His killing followed a series of assassination in nearby Richmond.

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