Magaqa’s family still believe he was poisoned

15 January 2018 - 15:12 By Bongani Mthethwa
Former ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa. File photo.
Former ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa. File photo.
Image: eratu Maduna/Gallo Images/Foto24

The family of slain former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa still believe that he did not die from gunshot wounds he sustained during an ambush in July last year but was poisoned.

Despite an autopsy ruling out poison as the cause of death‚ his cousin Lwazi Magaqa told the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into the political killings in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday that they believed that Magaqa was poisoned.

“We believe he was poisoned. Sindiso was shot on the lower body‚ more especially in the legs. At the time of his death he was about to start physiotherapy. It was a shock to the family he died because of stomach problems‚” he testified.

Lwazi Magaqa‚ 50‚ repeated the same claims during an interview with the media after his testimony to the commission.

“We don’t believe that Sindiso was killed by the bullets he sustained because the bullets hit him from the knees down to the ankles. Now it is complicated that someone who was shot in the legs can suffer from a stomach ache and die. It’s not his injuries that killed him. We suspect something.”

He revealed that they had communicated their suspicions to the police and that they were now pinning their hopes on the results from the toxicology tests being done in Pretoria.

However‚ he told the commission that he had heard that results from Pretoria had been communicated to the family in December and had reached the same conclusion as those conducted at the Gale Street Mortuary in Durban‚ which ruled out poison as the cause of Magaqa’s death.

He told the media that the family was also worried that the post mortem was conducted without any family member being present.

“What also worries us is that we were told that the post mortem would not be conducted on Sindiso’s body without a member of the family present of which I was part of. But when we reached Gale Street the post mortem had already been conducted.

“And our question is‚ why was it done without a family member being present because we were told that it was a family member who was supposed to release the body to the mortuary but by the time we got there the post mortem was already done. And that’s why we suspect that there was poison because everything was done behind us.”

Magaqa‚ who was a councillor in Umzimkhulu‚ was shot‚ along with fellow ANC councillors‚ on July 13. Magaqa was recovering in hospital‚ but died later after complaining of stomach pains.

His cousin said the family was not satisfied with the manner in which police had conducted Magaqa’s killing. He told the commission that the family has received very little feedback from the police.

“I remember well there are only two times we’ve been informed about the investigation‚” he said.

He said the family believes that Magaqa was killed for exposing corruption in the Umzimkhulu Municipality and not because of political infighting within the ANC in the Harry Gwala region.

He had submitted documents allegedly proving corruption in the tender for upgrading the Umzimkhulu Memorial Hall. Contractors involved in the upgrade‚ which has still not been completed‚ were paid before starting work‚ with the cost spiralling to R37-million.

Towards the end of his testimony‚ Lwazi Magaqa became emotional when he told the commission how Sindiso’s mother was struggling as he was the only breadwinner in the family.

“He was the only one who was putting bread on the table. His mother is very traumatised. We miss our brother‚” he said.

The commission continues with hearings on Tuesday with Umzimkhulu ANC PR councillor Mduduzi Tshibase’s widow expected to take the stand.

Tshibase was shot dead while entering his home in Gugwini village outside Umzimkhulu in May last year.