“We loved you‚ Magaqa‚ but we feel like we failed.”
These were the words of Police Minister Fikile Mbalula in Umzimkhulu‚ south of KwaZulu-Natal‚ on Thursday at the memorial of Sindiso Magaqa‚ the slain former ANCYL secretary-general.
Mbalula‚ family members and speaker after speaker described Magaqa as a selfless but brave person.
Mbalula has promised to have Magaqa’s killers caught and dealt with.
“We catch them they will sh*t themselves. When we catch them we won’t let go until they sh*t themselves because if we allow this to continue there will be anarchy. I’m the police minister and I cannot lead cops and criminals‚” he said.
Mbalula said the Hawks would soon make arrests in Magaqa’s killing – but he would not divulge the delicate details of operational plans at this stage.
“Yesterday I met and spoke to police management and generals in Cape Town. We said we will look into this matter of political killings in KZN. Sindiso’s blood will not be spilled in vain‚” he said at Thursday’s memorial.
In a speech punctuated with emotional anecdotes and humour‚ Mbalula recounted his many moments with Magaqa. He said that President Jacob Zuma also admired Magaqa‚ calling him “that boy from Ixopo”.
Mbalula said he last spoke to Magaqa during the ANC’s national policy conference in March‚ when Magaqa told him there were people who were chasing him.
“I was shocked later when I got a call…telling me comrade Magaqa has been shot in Umzimkhulu‚” said Mbalula.
He also heaped praise on Magaqa for staying in the ANC despite his adversity.
“Even in his personal moment of darkness he never left the ANC. He died an ANC councillor and died in the ANC‚” said Mbalula.
He recounted his many conversations with Magaqa when he represented him and Julius Malema in their disciplinary hearing that saw Malema expelled and Magaqa suspended.
“Comrade Magaqa was never meant to be suspended but he went to the disciplinary hearing in solidarity with his fellow comrades. I represented him in that DC of [Derek] Hanekom‚ the one who is doing funny things today‚” he said.
Recounting his youth league days with Malema‚ the former ANCYL president described Magaqa as the architect of economic freedom in our life time.
“He belonged to a generation that some say is a lost generation. But Magaqa was never lost‚” he said.
“Magaqa had staying power. He called me when he was suspended and said he was going back home. He stayed in the ANC. He never took the party to court and he never joined the EFF…he was not a political frog who changed with seasons. He was solid‚ exemplary‚ stubborn with purpose‚ militant but not an anarchist. He was a cadres’ cadre. His fire was inextinguishable‚” he said.
Lwazi Magaqa‚ a relative who spoke on behalf of the family‚ said Magaqa was an accomplished politician.
“He was such that whoever encountered him would leave having been taught a political lesson. He lived and breathed politics‚” he said.
Magaqa’s anti-corruption stance dominated the service. It was this stance that‚ many believe‚ resulted in him being killed.
“Criminals stole his life‚” said ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza.
Lihle Ndzelu‚ an ANC leader from the Alfred Nzo region in the Eastern Cape who was responsible for recruiting a teenage Magaqa into the ANC‚ said he had been identified as a youngster that was fearless.
“UMzimkhulu was still under the Eastern Cape and we said we cannot not co-opt that young black boy. He had displayed quality leadership that was rare at that age‚” he said.