Lwazi Magaqa, a first cousin of slain ANC PR Councillor Sindiso Magaqa, represented the family at the Moerane Commission on Monday. PHOT0: ANA

Durban – The first cousin of slain former African National Congress (ANC) youth league secretary-general, Sindiso Magaqa, says the family remains baffled as to why the toxicology report on Magaqa has still not been released.

Speaking to African News Agency (ANA) at the Moerane Commission on Monday, where he was giving testimony on behalf of the family, Lwazi Magaqa said police informed the family in September last year that they had sent tissue samples to Pretoria to ascertain if Magaqa had been poisoned.

Magaqa, a PR councillor at uMhlathuze Local Municipality at the time of his death, was gunned down along with colleagues Nontsikelelo Mafa and Jabu Msiya in the uMzimkhulu area in July 2017. Magaqa died in September due to “complications from multiple gunshot wounds”, according to police, while Mafa and Msiya both survived.

Lwazi told commissioners Vasu Gounden, chairman Marumo Moerane and professor Cheryl Potgieter that the family still did not understand how Sindiso could have died as around the time of his death he was preparing to undergo physiotherapy.

Lwazi said rumours surfaced that his cousin may have been poisoned because Sindiso had started complaining of stomach pains.

“All of the wounds [Sindiso sustained from multiple gunshot wounds] were in his legs,” said Lwazi. “There were no wounds above the knees,” he told ANA.

Major general Victoria Mekute, who was present at the hearings, told ANA that she would “follow up” to see why the toxicology report had not yet been released.

Lwazi, who lives in the uMzimkhulu area and spent time with Magaqa regularly, testified that the family believed Sindiso was murdered because he had uncovered corruption during renovations to the uMzimkhulu Memorial Hall. “Sindiso said money was being spent on the hall but there was nothing happening,” he said.

Another issue Sindiso had mentioned was the mayor of uMzimkhulu living in Pietermaritzburg and travelling to work on a daily basis. “Sindiso said a lot of money had been used on travel,” said Lwazi.

Municipal officials appeared before the commission in December, with mayor Mphuthumi Mpabanga calling any allegations of corruption “a well orchestrated conspiracy”. He said certain individuals had been “collaborating internally and externally to discredit the municipality’s existence”.

Lwazi also refuted allegations that the murder could have been as a result of external regional politics, saying that allegations of corruption occupied conversations between him and Sindiso while regional politics did not come up in conversation.

Echoing the words of many witnesses before him, Lwazi said the family did not believe the police were investigating the case with the necessary speed, diligence or transparency. 

Legal representative for the South African Police Services, advocate Mthoko Ngcobo, told the commission that his client would provide response to all of Lwazi’s allegations as part of SAPS testimony when they appeared before the commission.

African News Agency/ANA