Durban – African National Congress (ANC) member and anti-corruption activist Thabiso Zulu said on Tuesday that being shot would not deter his fight against corruption.
“Corruption steals the future of our children, hence I will not retreat even in the face of death,” said Zulu.
“I can’t delegate the fight against corruption, so I am working from my bed,” he told African News Agency (ANA).
Zulu was shot on Saturday night in the Copesville area of Pietermaritzburg while walking with friends and sustained a wound to his arm. His chest was also grazed.
He was treated in hospital and discharged himself on Sunday. He has since gone into hiding.
Zulu and fellow whistleblower Les Stuta made national headlines at the funeral service of Sindiso Magaqa, a former ANC Youth League secretary-general, in 2017, when they told mourners Magaqa had been assassinated for uncovering tender fraud related to a community hall in the uMzimkhulu area.
Magaqa was a PR councillor when he was gunned down.
Zulu made the same allegations when he appeared before the Moerane Commission, which was tasked with investigating the causes of a spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal since 2011.
Zulu said he was wearing his gunshot wounds as “a badge of honour”.
“Here am I with fresh bullet wounds I sustained when ruthless and cold-blooded assassins attacked me, [but I] reiterate that I will not be deterred by any efforts to intimidate me in my fight against corruption,” said Zulu.
“I am wearing these gunshots wounds as a badge of honour to our people and renew my commitment to the National Democratic Revolution, whose logical conclusion will be a National Democratic Society. I am prepared to sacrifice my own blood, tears and sweat in order to achieve it, if need be.”
Zulu said he remained isolated, vulnerable and “at great risk”.
“Efforts to silence me will not succeed, even on my death bed I will continue to speak out against corruption, no matter who is involved.”
Since Zulu and Stuta first made public the allegations of corruption, they have had to contend with multiple death threats. After approaching police for assistance and allegedly being pushed from pillar to post, Zulu eventually approached Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane for help.
In her report, Mkhwebane found that the conduct of Police Minister Bheki Cele and police constituted improper conduct “ ... and undue delay, gross negligence, and maladministration”.
Mkhwebane’s remedial actions included that Zulu and Stuta be given state-funded protection and that President Cyril Ramaphosa reprimand Cele.
Cele has taken the report on review and Mkhwebane is opposing.
Sibonelo Myeza, Mbulelo Mpofana, and Mxolisi Ncalane were arrested for allegedly being part of the conspiracy to kill Magaqa.
Their trial has seen several delays and was earlier this month postponed to April 2020.
Magaqa’s family have publicly stated that they do not believe the “mastermind” behind the assassination has been arrested.
The mayor of Harry Gwala District Municipality, Mluleki Ndobe, was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder in March for allegedly being part of the plot, as was uMzimkhulu municipal manager Zweliphansi Skhosana.
The charges were provisionally withdrawn against both men due to lack of evidence.
Zulu is not on the list of witnesses set to testify at the trial.
The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman, Sihle Zikalala, who is also the province’s premier, said on Monday that he promised “urgent intervention” to ensure support and protection would be provided to Zulu.
The attack on Zulu undermined the ANC's efforts to bring about stability in the province, said Zikalala.