Magaqa’s family demand special political killings court

Sindiso Magaqa, a municipal councillor in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, paid the price for opposing tender fraud.

Sindiso Magaqa, a municipal councillor in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, paid the price for opposing tender fraud.

Published Nov 20, 2023


Durban — The family of late former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa has called for the establishment of a special political killings court in KwaZulu-Natal to fast-track his trial.

Magaqa, who was Umzimkhulu Local Municipality councillor at the time of his death, was shot while parking his Mercedes-Benz at his home in Umzimkhulu after attending a meeting in July 2017. He was with two women councillors who were injured during the shooting. Magaqa died in hospital in September 2017.

Lwazi Magaqa said the family was disturbed by the never-ending postponement of the trial and called for the establishment of a special court.

“I plead with the authorities to take this case seriously. There are four courts in Pietermaritzburg High Court. Let the one be specialised for political violence cases. Our case is always postponed for plus nine months and above. The establishment of a special political violence court is going to help us as a family. Let justice be done to everyone. It’s almost seven years now; the case is still on but no justice done. Mr President, consider this as a major concern by the family,” said Magaqa.

Earlier this month, the family reported a break-in. Sindiso’s mother was threatened at gunpoint by two armed men who demanded to search for money they presumed was hidden in the ceiling. The family said no money was found but the men promised to come back.

Three of the accused, Sbonelo Myeza, 39, Mbulelo Mbofana, 34, and Mlungisi Ncalane during one of their appearances. The fourth accused, Sibusiso Ncengwa (not pictured), was also charged with Magaqa’s murder while serving another sentence. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng Independent Newspapers

Police arrested former police officer Sibonelo Myeza, businessman Mbulelo Mpofana, Mlungisi Ncalane, and Sibusiso Ncengwa for Magaqa’s murder in September 2018, exactly a year after Magaqa’s killing. Their bail application in May 2019 was unsuccessful but they were finally granted bail in February this year.

The trial has seen several postponements and will now return early next year. The establishment of a special court was also mooted by the National Prosecuting Authority at a recent media briefing, called by the inter-ministerial team tasked with dealing with political killings. The team is led by Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Magaqa’s friend, Thabiso Zulu, a well-known anti-corruption activist, had previously said the delays in such cases were a deliberate tactic by the accused so that the witnesses would die or forget their earlier testimonies.

Magaqa’s killing shook the whole country. Top ANC members and former Harry District Municipal mayor Mluleki Ndobe and Umzimkhulu Local Municipality manager Zweliphansi Skosana were arrested but later acquitted. Magaqa had been vocal about alleged corruption in Umzimkhulu Local Municipality, where he was a councillor.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya had not responded to the questions sent to him by deadline.

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