Johannesburg - Former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa was a fearless and indomitable lion who made an indelible mark, the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Monday.
"He was a fearless and indomitable lion who grew up from the ranks of our movement and made an indelible mark within and beyond the borders of our province... The ANC has lost a dependable, disciplined and committed servant of the masses of our people," the ANCKZN said in a statement.
Magaqa, who died on Monday, following a shooting incident in July, undertook his tasks with distinction, the party said.
"He fell in the cause of service to his people which he did without any demand for recognition nor expecting material rewards. We accept with the greatest pain and sorrow the dictates of fate that today, 4th September 2017, we have to send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to the family of comrade Magaqa."
The party said that Magaqa's death was a "staggering blow" to the ANC and will be mostly intensely felt by those in the Umzimkhulu Local Municipality.
Earlier, the national ANC described Magaqa as one of the "most brave and fearless fighters".
"Comrade Magaqa’s life was testament to the abiding belief he had that the cause of the people shall triumph. He lived his life boldly and courageously, standing true to his convictions, in even the most trying times. He will forever be remembered as a gentle soul and a fearless fighter. His contribution to the struggles of youth and South Africans in general for economic freedom will never be forgotten," the ruling party said in a statement.
"He leaves behind his unfinished life’s work and we trust it calls upon the current generation of youth and youth activists to pick up his fallen spear and continue the mission for the realization of economic freedom in our lifetime."
On July 13, three ANC councillors of the uMzimkhulu municipality in KwaZulu-Natal were shot while they were at a local shop together. The three councillors, PR councillor Magaqa, ward 11 councillor Nonsikelelo Mafa ,and ward 16 councillor Jabu Mzizi, were shot outside a general dealer in the Ibisi area. The shootings followed the killings of three other councillors in the area this year.
On July 14, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) announced it had set up a special task team to probe the shooting. At the time, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said they sustained multiple gunshot wounds and they were taken to hospital for medical attention.
Magaqa was the ANCYL secretary general under then leader Julius Malema before the league was disbanded in 2012.
On Monday, the ANC said that Magaqa was part of a generation of young people in the ANC who fought tirelessly for the realisation of the vision of economic freedom.
The ruling party said Magaqa was a "true product of the revolutionary movement" who served with diligence and distinction in the Council and as Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) at the time of his passing.
"The African National Congress sends its deepest condolences to Comrade Sindiso Magaqa’s family. May they find solace in the knowledge that we painfully share their loss and thank them for having borrowed the ANC and the country this incomparable son of the soil."
The National Freedom Party (NFP) said it was "deeply disturbed and concerned about the ongoing killings" in KwaZulu-Natal and extended their condolences to Magaqa's family and friends.
"Our people are living in constant fear of being caught in the cross fire of what has become normalized in our society as " political killings" amongst ANC members targeting each other," spokesperson Sabelo Sigudu said.
"This cannot be left to go on unchallenged. It's high time that law enforcement authorities reclaimed that province and bring these killings to end and protect our people from living in fear."
The NFP called on Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to put an end the killings and bring those responsible to justice.
"It's high time that government Minister's focus on what they are paid to do - service our people instead of focusing on smearing each other in public over scandals whilst our people live in constant fear every day of been caught in between firing lines" Sigudu said.