Moerane Commission: witness recalls Sindiso Magaqa’s words after being shot
“Don’t move. Things are bad.”
These were the chilling words of slain former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa seconds before AK-47 bullets ripped through the air and into the car in which he and two colleagues were sitting outside a store in Umzimkhulu in July.
Jabulile Msiya on Wednesday recounted the moments before the shooting on that fateful evening when she‚ Magaqa and Nontsikelelo Mafa were attacked. She was speaking at the Moerane Commission into political violence in KZN on Wednesday. Magaqa died in hospital in September. Msiya and Mafa were both wounded and survived following extensive hospital treatment.
Msiya told the commission that the trio saw two gun-toting men approach them just before they sprayed them with bullets.
“We were coming from a meeting and we parked cars at an Ibisi bus stop‚ a place teeming with activities like a carwash and fast food outlets‚” she said. “When we arrived there we had to exchange cars and Sindiso invited me to his car‚ where councillor Mafa was already sitting. He wanted us to discuss something. He asked me to occupy the back seat and not the front.”
One of the female ANCYL members in their company said she was hungry and Magaqa gave her money to buy French fries.
“He also asked his bodyguard to accompany her to buy the fries‚” she said.
It was soon after the woman and the bodyguard left the vehicle that the gun-wielding assassins came onto the scene.
“I saw them shooting him in the front seat. I was shot as well. So was councillor Mafa.”
Asked by evidence leader advocate Bheki Manyathi what she did during the shooting‚ Msiya said: “I prayed to God to be with us and I couldn’t believe we were being shot.”
Although hit by bullets‚ Msiya managed to call for help‚ and a driver used Msiya’s car to take the injured Magaqa and Mafa to hospital.
“I was afraid the assailants would follow us to finish us off. I was relieved when police came to the hospital‚” she said.
Msiya said the council had not allocated them any protection despite the incident. She claimed that Umzimkhulu municipal officials were quick to allocate themselves bodyguards following another KZN political murder‚ the shooting of regional speaker Khaya Thobela in May‚ without that process going to tender.
“The premier has also raised the issue as to why we are not guarded even though we are women and have survived a hit‚” she said.
Msiya said they had repeatedly asked for protection but were told the matter was going to tender.
“We live by the grace of God. Even here we came without any protection‚” she said‚ referring to her presence at the Moerane Commission.
Mafa was due to testify later on Wednesday.
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