'My entire body froze and I cried' - Malema on Magaqa's death
EFF commander in chief Julius Malema has described how his "heart was overcome with sorrow and gloom" after receiving the news that his friend and former ANC Youth League comrade Sindiso Magaqa had died.
Malema‚ who vowed to attend Magaqa's funeral without anyone's invitation‚ said he had lost his "brother‚ a friend and a comrade".
In a statement he described the moment he received the news of Magaqa's death.
"The phone call carrying these sad news was brief and to the point‚ yet it froze my entire body in shock to the point of inevitable and unending tears‚" he said.
"With immediate effect‚ my heart was overcome with sorrow and gloom at the death of a brother‚ my brother‚ a friend and a comrade that I had worked with at the height of our involvement in a movement and organisation‚ for a country and a people we deeply loved‚" Malema said.
Malema said‚ despite threats‚ Magaqa had remained true to his convictions and mission of economic emancipation.
"This very feature about him‚ his bravery and daring personality‚ may have robbed us of his youthful life‚" he said.
"I felt this way because I knew that something could have been done to save Sindiso Magaqa … Even at the height of reports of political violence in his home region‚ I contacted him‚ met with him to see how he could survive‚" Malema said.
Malema said he was "shocked" to see how the ANC Youth League had treated the situation following Magaqa's death.
"When he finally was shot and admitted to the hospital‚ I spoke to his wife and monitored his well-being throughout. Because he was my brother and my comrade. To do all this‚ I never called or waited for anyone's permission; I did it because Magaqa was my brother.
"It is painful to discover the calls by the ANCYL in KZN inviting me to Magaqa's funeral. Nothing is more insensitive and an utter betrayal of African tradition than this shallow sickening fame-seeking call.
"I do not know of anywhere in our traditions where people get invited to funerals ... It is sickening and shattering at the same time for Magaqa's name to be used to score cheap political and fame-seeking points."
Malema said as with the funerals of other comrades‚ he would attend without needing any invitation under the appropriate security.
"I have always attended funerals of comrades I grew up with or who led our people in any capacity‚ regardless of the fact that at the point of their death‚ they belonged to different political parties. I have also attended many funerals‚ even of ANC leaders or their close relatives‚ like that of Uncle Ahmed Kathrada. However‚ this I do never at the explicit detriment of my own safety‚" he said.
"I‚ therefore‚ intend to attend Magaqa's funeral‚ to pay my respects‚ and find my own peace in the trauma I personally suffered on the news of his death. I too wish to pick up his spear‚ and make my vows that I will continue to fight‚" Malema said.
"However‚ this will be on the condition of a thorough security assessment so that the bloodthirsty murderers do not take the occasion of his funeral to also end my own life. We never fear death‚ but no one takes our life‚" he said.
"As revolutionaries‚ we give our lives to the struggle‚ and if needs be‚ we shall pay with our lives‚ but not under the conditions chosen by hostile forces."
Magaqa was a councillor at the Umzimkhulu municipality at the time of his death. He and two colleagues were ambushed outside a shop on the outskirts of the southern KwaZulu-Natal town in July. At least 12 rounds were fired into the car‚ probably from a high-powered rifle.
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