Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League has launched a veiled attack on EFF leader Julius Malema, accusing him of using the violent death of Sindiso Magaqa to draw political capital.
The accusation against Malema came after he told the media that Magaqa was on the verge of joining the EFF before he was shot on July 13.
Magaqa became the latest high-profile politician to be attacked amid increasing attacks on ANC councillors that started before the August 3, 2016, local government elections in KwaZulu-Natal.
He was with two other councillors Nonsikelelo Mafa and Jabu Mzizi when unknown attackers ambushed them outside a shop at a local village Ibisi. Mafa and Mzizi were still recuperating following the attack.
The onslaught on ANC councillors soared post the elections which left local, provincial and national ANC leaders scrambling to know the motive - but to no avail.
The attacks also continued despite the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government establishing the Moerane Commission of Inquiry to probe the deaths in the province.
A memorial service would be held for Magaqa at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on Wednesday afternoon and another in his hometown Umzimkhulu's eBhisa Sports Field on Thursday.
On Monday the youth league turned its attention indirectly on Malema following comments he made last week, after his graduation ceremony.
Malema said he had been in talks with Magaqa to join the EFF and become its national organiser.
Incumbent ANC Youth League secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza reacted to the comments, saying his organisation “has noted some unfortunate and extremely distasteful remarks made by those who seek to gain cheap political points on the back of comrade Sindiso Magaqa’s passing”.
“They have used what should be a very solemn occasion to seek relevance and cast doubt on comrade Magaqa’s unflinching loyalty to the ANC.
"Such behaviour must be condemned with the contempt it deserves,” Nzuza said.
Despite the apparent attack on Malema, Nzuza said his organisation would afford everyone who worked with Magaqa the opportunity to pay tribute to him “in a manner befitting his gallant contributions to the struggles of South African people rather than what tarnish them”.
“We will ensure that all those who wish to pay their respects to comrade Magaqa, beyond petty political differences, are afforded an opportunity to do so.
"Believing, as we do, that many will resist the temptation to use such platforms for unsavoury tendencies," Nzuza said.
“Until his very last day, Magaqa remained loyal to the struggle of his generation and the cause of his people. We, who knew him, and remained close to him until the very end will attest to this fact."
Throughout the media address, no mention of Malema was made. Malema could not be reached for comment.
Family spokesperson Vuma Magaqa also did not give details on whether Malema would be allowed to address mourners during the funeral on Saturday.
The uncle said the family was still making final preparations for the funeral including the names of people billed to speak there.
The ANCYL also appealed to the Hawks and other law enforcement officers to act swiftly and arrest the killers of Magaqa.
“Law enforcement agencies must leave no stone unturned in the quest to find these criminals and others responsible for the rampant assassination of comrades,” Nzuza said.
He urged ANC members to report those criminals to the police saying “gun-toting criminals who see our political leadership as a killing field must be exposed and flushed out".