A month after carrying a coffin and replica of a tombstone to celebrate Julius Malema’s “political death”, Kgaugelo Motjopi died mysteriously this week.
Motjopi was known as “Bomba” by his peers.
He was at the forefront of organising anti-Malema celebrations last month.
Early this year he doused T-shirts bearing Malema’s picture with petrol and burnt them to celebrate the ANC’s decision to suspend the former ANC Youth League president.
Motjopi was crushed to death by a grinding machine at his workplace, Silicon Smelters, a mining company outside Polokwane.
The machine is used to grind stones.
Motjopi’s brother, Tshepo, said the machine had smashed his head.
Tshepo works at the same company.
He said he had not witnessed the accident, but when he arrived at the scene minutes later, his brother was still trapped under the machine.
“We want to know how he got in that section because that is a restricted area,” Motjopi said.
“We also want to know who operated that machine. It’s only engineers who have the key for that area, and that’s not where Kgaugelo was supposed to work.”
Jan Aucamp, the acting managing director of Silicon Smelters, refused to comment on the circumstances that led to Motjopi’s death.
“We have launched an investigation,” he said.
Aucamp said the matter had been reported to mining inspectors at the Mineral Resources Department for further investigation.
Police are considering holding an inquest.
Motjopi’s death came days after Malema warned against disrespecting his grandmother, a sangoma.
“O ralokela ka ga ngaka!” (Don’t mess around a sangoma), Malema jokingly cautioned his detractors on Saturday during the burial of Alina Malebati, a local councillor in Seshego township outside Polokwane.
“Obviously you don’t have parents, because if you had any they would have cautioned you against your actions,” Malema said in Sepedi.
He said on Wednesday his remarks had nothing to do with Motjopi and his death.
“All I said was that they were wrong for playing with coffins,” Malema said. “I also warned them not to play near houses of sangomas.”
He said he had not known the dead man personally and had held no grudges against him.
“I even said, ‘May God forgive them for they did not know what they were doing’,” Malema added.
“Death is a painful thing and no sane person can celebrate the death of a young person. May the soul of the young man rest in peace,” he said. - The Star