JOHANNESBURG – Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader, Julius Malema, says he wants to attend the funeral of former ANC Youth League Secretary General, Sindiso Magaqa, but will only do so if his safety is guaranteed.
Malema said a thorough security assessment must be done ahead of the funeral.
He penned an emotional tribute to the former uMzimkhulu Municipality councillor, calling him a brother and a man who remained faithful to his convictions and missions.
“In the line of political duty, Magaqa had become a brother who when even threats of death were made on our lives, he always remained faithful to his convictions and mission. This very feature about him, his bravery and daring personality, may have robbed us of his youthful life,” Malema said.
“May the soul of Sindiso Magaqa rest in a revolutionary and perfect peace. I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife and children, the family and all comrades. In his name and spirit, we must end all political violence and unite our people in the mission for the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime that Magaqa stood for. His death will never deter us from continuing this struggle for the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime.”
Magaqa, a former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) secretary general, was hospitalised in July after he and two other colleagues were shot at several times by unknown assailants, succumbed to his injuries on Monday.
He was one of the three uMzimkhulu Councillors shot at by unknown assailants while returning from a meeting. The trio sustained serious injuries after the attackers unleashed a hail of bullets at their car.
Magaqa was the ANCYL secretary general under then leader Malema before the league was disbanded in 2012.
Malema said when he received the news of Magaqa’s death on Monday night, he was on his way to a meeting when he received the phone call that froze his entire body “in shock to the point of inevitable and unending tears”.
“With immediate effect, my heart was overcome with sorrow and gloom at the death of a brother, my brother, a friend and a comrade that I had worked with at the height of our involvement in a movement and organisation, for a country and a people we deeply loved. I had to make a u-turn because I could not withhold my tears, which uncontrollably kept showering my face,” Malema wrote in a statement.
“The last time a shadow of death overcame my heart in such a manner it was on the occasion of the passing of my mother… Upon arrival at home, I felt a terrible cold all over my body, as though my entire feeble being had been cast into the endless, darkest of pits. This terrible feeling was at the imagination of what his young wife might be going through, together with the children, mother and relatives. At the face of that thought, I trembled, overcome with pain and sorrow.”
Malema said he felt that way because he knew “something could have been done to save” Magaqa. He said that on many occasions since they were expelled from the ANC, how they would engage in ways in which he could continue contributing to the economic emancipation of South Africans.
The EFF leader said that at the height of reports of political violence in Magaqa home region, he contacted him, and met with him to see how he could “survive”.
Malema said when Magaqa was shot in July, he often spoke to his wife and monitored his well-being because he was his brother and comrade.
He cautioned against people using Magaqa’s death and funeral for “fame-seeking”. He said he would be attending Magaqa’s funeral because like in the past he always attends the funerals of people he grew up with, leaders regardless of the different political parties they belonged to.
“I, therefore, intend to attend Magaqa’s funeral, to pay my respects, and find my own peace in the trauma I personally suffered on the news of his death. I too wish to pick up his spear, and make my vows that I will continue to fight for a mission we collectively conceptualised in the ANC YL; the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime,” he said.
“I too wish to come and express my condolences to his wife and children whom I know, and the rest of his family. I too wish to look at his children in the eye and tell them that they will never be orphans for as long as some of us still breathe. However, this will be on the condition of a thorough security assessment so that the bloodthirsty murderers do not take the occasion of his funeral to also end my own life.
“We never fear death, but no one takes our life. As revolutionaries, we give our lives to the struggle, and if needs be, we shall pay with our lives, but not under the conditions chosen by hostile forces.”