The late former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN.
The late former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal will hold an urgent meeting on Monday morning in Durban after one of its provincial leaders was arrested in connection with the murder of former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa.

Magaqa, who was serving as an ANC councillor in Umzimkhulu, in the Harry Gwala District Municipality, was in a vehicle with two councillors when they were shot at by unknown gunmen in 2017. Magaqa died in hospital a few weeks after the incident.

On Sunday, investigators led by the Hawks arrested Harry Gwala mayor Mluleki Ndobe, a former ANC KZN provincial deputy secretary, in connection with the murder. A well-known South Coast businessman was also arrested.

The ANC confirmed Ndobe’s arrest on Sunday. The two are expected to appear in court on Monday or Tuesday and face charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and two cases of attempted murder. According to sources at the Hawks, additional charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering could be added at a later stage.

ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the news came as a shock to the party.

“We will be holding a meeting on Monday where this and other issues will be discussed. You must understand this is not an easy thing for us as the party. We have to assume that this leader is innocent until proven guilty. But at the same time we have to give guidance to society on how to react when such a revelation surfaces. We have to ensure that the dignity and integrity of the ANC remains intact,” he said.

Two weeks ago in Umzimkhulu thousands of people blockaded roads with debris for six successive days, decrying fraud, corruption and a lack of service delivery. They said they have to drink water from local rivers which they share with animals.

Ten officials of the local municipality have appeared several times in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court. They are accused of being part of a syndicate that created fake contracts with companies that did no work but were paid, and then paid kickbacks to the officials. They are on bail and under suspension with full pay.

Xolani Dube, an independent political analyst with the Xubera Research Institute, said the arrests could be looked at in a “number of ways".

One of them is that we should be grateful that there is some progress in resolving the murder of Magaqa, even though it is still not clear whether the arrested leader was involved.

“But if it is true that he was indeed involved, it would mean that the violence that has plagued the province had very little to do with ideology or political differences, but had everything to do with resources, tenders and patronage. It would also confirm that the ANC is rotten to the core and it would be almost impossible to untangle the party from its current situation,” Dube said.