Malema‚ ANCYL in war of words over Magaqa funeral

06 September 2017 - 14:19
By Nathi Olifant
Former ANC Youth League leaders: From left, deputy secretary-general Kenetswe Mosenogi, vice-president Ronald Lamola, president Julius Malema and secretary-general Sindiswa Magaqa, shortly after their suspension
Image: TSHEKO KABASIA Former ANC Youth League leaders: From left, deputy secretary-general Kenetswe Mosenogi, vice-president Ronald Lamola, president Julius Malema and secretary-general Sindiswa Magaqa, shortly after their suspension

Hardly hours had passed following Sindiso Magaqa’s last breath and EFF leader Julius Malema and the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal were already at each others’ throats over the latter’s attendance of the funeral.

It all started on Monday night when Malema tweeted: “My brother and friend #SindisoMagaqa is no more‚ may his soul Rest in Peace. We will always miss you fearless economic freedom fighter.”

His tweet‚ with an accompanying picture of him dancing with Magaqa and several other ANCYL leaders of yesteryear‚ received 550 responses‚ thousands of likes and retweets.

However‚ among those who responded was KwaZulu-Natal ANCYL secretary‚ Thanduxolo Sabelo who sarcastically tweeted: “He was indeed a fearless economic freedom fighter. Do attend the funeral.”

While Malema did not responded instantly‚ he sent a stinging statement on Tuesday and said that when Magaqa was shot on July 13 and admitted to the hospital‚ he spoke to the former ANCYL secretary-general's wife and monitored his well-being.

“To do all this‚ I never called or waited for anyone's permission; I did it because Magaqa was my brother‚” he said.

“Under these conditions of so much sorrow and the trauma of the loss of life… it is painful to discover the calls by the ANCYL in KZN inviting me to Magaqa's funeral‚" he said‚ making reference to Sabelo's tweet.

"Nothing is more insensitive and an utter betrayal of African tradition than this shallow sickening fame-seeking call‚” he said.

Malema‚ as then president of the ANCYL‚ served with Magaqa from 2011 until the structure was disbanded in 2012.

While Malema moved on to new political pastures‚ Magaqa stayed with the ANC - eventually being elected as a councillor at the Umzimkhulu Municipality on July 13‚ he and two councillor colleagues were shot a dozen times.

Magaqa remained in hospital since the shooting‚ ultimately dying on Monday.

“I do not know of anywhere in our traditions where people get invited to funerals. The ANCYL of KZN could not even wait for Magaqa's warm body to reach his family [and] they already took the platform to defile this morning hour with their fame-seeking calls. It is even more concerning that the ANC has not called the ANC YL in KZN to order‚ reminding them that the family has to take a lead on such matters. It is sickening and shattering at the same time for Magaqa's name to be used to score cheap political and fame-seeking points‚” said Malema.

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He said he did not need anyone's invitation to bury Magaqa and to pay his respects and salute him as a leader and an economic freedom fighter.

In vintage Malema style‚ the EFF commander-in-chief said it might very well be that some amongst those who are "inviting" him to the funeral could be conspirers and murderers of Magaqa.

“This very supposition may very well apply also to those who will be attending his funeral‚ demanding platforms to campaign for the internal factions of the ANC as it has become their norm. Under the very cover of sorrows we are all under‚ there is no doubt that wherever they are‚ they still harbour their murderous agendas‚ plotting who next to kill.

However‚ an angry ANCYL in the province issued its own statement saying it had learnt with shock - but not surprise - that Malema is claiming to have been invited by them to attend Magaqa’s funeral.

The league said they understood the relationship between the two men‚ with Malema having been close to Magaqa during his time as the secretary-general of the ANCYL.

“Comrade Sindiso Magaqa was the kind of a person who saw good in someone as low as Malema‚ someone who will deliberately mislead society about a funeral invitation that he knows he never got and could never have gotten from the ANCYL‚” said spokesman Mandla Shange.

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Sabelo was among dozens of ANC leaders prevented from paying respects at Magaqa’s home on Tuesday. He was blocked from entry by a group of ANC members.

Shange said Sabelo’s tweet should not be construed as an invitation to Malema and that he had decided to lie about this calling it a personalised invitation by the ANCYL.

However‚ later on Facebook Sabelo appeared to retreat and wrote: “It's really embarrassing given the fact that the family is still grieving. I really thought he was grieving the loss of his friend.

"I did not expect him to use his friend’s death to score cheap political goals. I must however apologise I should have known better. It was really an error of judgement from my part‚” he wrote.