Thabiso Zulu, close friend of slain former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, on Wednesday, testified about assassination attempts and rape allegations before the Moerane Commission.
Often looking tired and angry, Zulu outlined for commissioners — tasked with investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal — allegations of corruption in the uMzimkhulu area, where he once served as regional secretary of the ANCYL for the Harry Gwala region.
The region has come under intense scrutiny as five ANC officials have been murdered in the area since the start of the year, the most high profile being Magaqa. He was a PR councillor when he was ambushed with two colleagues in July. Magaqa died last month although he was reportedly recovering from his wounds. Both of his colleagues survived.
Zulu has stated publicly that he believes Magaqa was murdered for exposing corruption in the uMzimkhulu municipality relating to tenders for a community hall, the costs of which ballooned, with contractors being paid in part although very little work had been done.
Like other witnesses before him, Zulu painted a picture of party factionalism, corruption and maladministration in his region and its municipalities.
“There are problems in the movement – people with a direct line to senior leadership think they are senior leadership themselves,” he said.
“Contracts were done irregularly. We would just wake up and there would be contracts.”
He also lashed out at ANC Treasurer Zweli Mkhize, saying that while Mkhize was running on a unification ticket for this year’s national conference, he did nothing to unify the region during his time as provincial ANC chairman when factional divides became evident.
“Comrade Zweli Mkhize failed this region,” he said.
Zulu spoke of how he was ostracised by his party once it became clear he would not tolerate corruption. He described being “activated” by the ANC when it needed him to canvass votes, and “deactivated” or “purged” when he had served his political usefulness.
He said that as the region’s conference approached in 2008, following the contentious Polokwane national conference, “people came with their own agendas”.
“They wanted to create a youth league that was like a juke box, you put money in and it sings,” he said.
His testimony continues on Thursday.