Sindiso Magaqa’s family still in the dark about the official cause of death

Amid rumours of poisoning and four months after his burial, the family of slain former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary general Sindiso Magaqa still has no idea what the official cause of his death was, the Moerane Commission heard on Monday.

Magaqa died at a Durban hospital in September following an apparent assassination attempt on July 13, last year. He was a proportional representative councillor in the Umzimkhulu municipality at the time of his death.

Magaqa, Umzimkhulu’s Ward 11 councillor Nonsikelelo Mafa and Ward 16 councillor Jabu Mzizi were returning from an ANC regional meeting when they were shot by unknown assailants.

READ MORE: ‘Magaqa died because he did not approve of looting’

There were rumours doing the rounds in Magaqa’s neighbourhood that he was poisoned while in hospital.

His cousin, Lwazi Knowledge Magaqa told the commission – investigating the underlying causes of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal – that the family also believed that his cousin was poisoned while he was recovering in hospital.

“At the time of his death, he was about to start physiotherapy,” said Lwazi.

Results ‘pending’

He said Magaqa had recovered from the shooting to “his lower body”.

“We were told that before he died he had complained of stomach pain. The autopsy report we received from (a government mortuary on) Gale Street in Durban didn’t specify his exact cause of death. It only said the results were still pending as some of his tissues were taken to Pretoria for further examination,” said Lwazi, adding that they got the results around late October last year.

He explained that on December 2, he heard from his family that they had received the autopsy results from Pretoria but that they too stated that Magaqa’s cause of death “was still pending”.

Lwazi told the commission he was not sure of the exact date his family received the autopsy results from Pretoria.

Evidence leader Advocate Bheki Manyathi explained that according to experts, toxicology could take a very long time.

Lwazi said family members believed that Magaqa was killed because of his concerns about corruption in Umzimkhulu.

Family unhappy with police

“His problems started when he first complained about the unfinished hall in Umzimkhulu. He was not happy that the hall wasn’t complete while the money which had been set aside to build it had been spent already,” he said.

Lwazi said Magaqa was also concerned that the municipality was wasting money on Mayor Mphuthumi Mpabanga’s daily travel costs from his home in Pietermaritzburg to his office in Umzimkhulu.

Towards the end of last year Mpabanga and delegates from the municipality told the commission that the murders of the municipality’s officials had nothing to do with corruption, but that some leaders of the ANCYL in the region, including Magaqa, wanted to remove older leaders within the municipality so they could take over those positions.

“The youth league doesn’t have the power to remove anyone or deploy themselves in the municipality. It is up to the regional executive committee and the provincial executive committee to do so,” Lwazi said in response.

He said his family was also not satisfied with the police’s investigations into Magaqa’s murder.

“Since July 13, police have given us little information regarding their investigation into the matter,” he said, adding that no arrests had been made in the matter.

He said he was also not happy with the manner in which the police conducted themselves at the scene of Magaqa’s shooting, which was less than five minutes from his home.

“Police arrived at the scene immediately after the shooting but they left shortly [after], saying they were going to call for backup. By the time they came back, a suspicious BMW which was at the scene had already left.”

He said the BMW was seen driving around Magaqa’s home a few days before he was shot.

EFF offer

He had last spoken to Magaqa a week before he was shot.

“He personally told me that he would not leave his ANC to join the EFF. He told me the leader of the EFF (Julius Malema) had been calling him to join the EFF but he refused. If he had joined the EFF, he would have been in the top five,” said Lwazi.

Malema reportedly wanted Magaqa to be the national organiser of the EFF, Lwazi said.

Shortly after news of his death made headlines, Malema told reporters that he had had many meetings with Magaqa about his potential role in the EFF.

“Before he was shot I had a lot of meetings with him discussing whether he is still interested to pursue the struggle for economic emancipation and which other roles he can play in pursuit of the struggle for economic emancipation,” said Malema.

READ MORE: EFF calls for end to political killings in wake of Magaqa’s death

The commission’s chair, Advocate Marumo Moerane, adjourned the hearings until Tuesday. — News24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

ANC needs young leaders and uDuduzane could be one

Youth Day, June 16, reminds us of the role of youth in the struggle against oppression throughout the history of the ANC

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Moerane’s proposals on KZN killings to take effect

​KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala wants to begin implementing the recommendations of the Moerane inquiry into political killing

eThekwini mayor’s supporters demand she is returned to office

​Embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s supporters have revolted against the ANC’s decision to place her on enforced leave

Charges provisionally withdrawn against Ndobe

​Murder charges against Harry Gwala District mayor Mluleki Ndobe have been provisionally withdrawn, the Umzimkhulu Magistrates Court heard on Monday.

Three mayors investigated for murders

ANC leaders Sindiso Magaqa, Wandile Ngubeni and S’bu Maphumulo were assassinated

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday