DURBAN: A SOMBRE mood prevailed at Sindiso Magaqa’s funeral at the uMzimkhulu sports field yesterday, with the tension underscored by the singing of revolutionary songs.
The funeral of the former ANC Youth League secretary-general drew sparring factions of the ANC KZN national executive committee. Neither President Jacob Zuma nor EFF leader Julius Malema attended.
Speakers who addressed mourners described how Magaqa, 34, devoted his life to the struggle for young people.
Struggle songs such as Oliver Tambo bamba isandla Sami (hold my hand) saw comrades hold hands and chant despite their differences.
Bheki Cele and KZN provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala recently squared off after Cele accused the NEC of failing to lead the people.
Zikalala in turn said Cele should lead by example and be the first to resign from the NEC. They were separated by a few chairs at the funeral.
Former chairperson and premier Senzo Mchunu’s allies were also present following a court judgment that the Zikalala-led provincial leadership was “unlawful and void”.
ANC treasurer-general Dr Zweli Mkhize, who led the NEC members at the funeral, said it was a tragedy to lose a “shining star” like Magaqa.
Mkhize urged the ANC, police and government to launch an investigation into Magaqa’s murder.
Mkhize was slightly disrupted when a strong wind blasted through the sportsfield, sparking fear from some mourners who swiftly dashed out of the marquee.
Magaqa, who was elected as ANC PR councillor during last year’s local government elections, was shot in July alongside ANC councillors in Umzimkhulu, Jabulile Mzizi and Nonsikelelo Mafa, who survived. He died last week in Chief Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, apparently from the wounds he sustained during the shooting.
Addressing the mourners, Zikalala urged members of the ANC to unite and rid the party of the factions plaguing it.
Zikalala also took a swipe at businessman Johann Rupert saying he was arrogant following his utterances that the so-called radical economic transformation was a ploy to loot the public purse.
Magaqa’s niece, Yolakazi, broke down in tears on stage while delivering her tribute to him.
His uncle, Mapolo Dlamini, pleaded with the police to arrest the killers of Magaqa. His friend and ANC member, Less Stuta said Magaqa was “definitely” killed because of his stand against corruption. This stemmed, he said, from an incomplete community hall in uMzimkhulu, which cost millions of rand, which Magaqa was vocal about in executive committee meetings in uMzimkhulu municipality.
Delivering a message on behalf of his wife, Mrs T Magaqa said, “I prayed for you before I met you. My love I saw you fighting for your life in hospital. Go well my love I will always love you.
Magaqa’s mother, Agnes, said, “I will always remember you, you will always be my child and you will always be in my heart. Thank you for all the things you have done for me.” Her message was read by Thobela Dlamini.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a presidential hopeful, received thunderous applause when she was introduced.