Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said he had repeatedly asked his former ANC Youth League comrade Sindiso Magaqa to join the EFF as a regional organiser.
Malema said Magaqa – who died on Monday following injuries he suffered during a shooting in July – had indicated that he wanted to discuss the matter with his wife before taking a final decision.
“I was still waiting for him and this happened‚” Malema said.
Malema was speaking after he graduated from the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Pretoria on Wednesday evening. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree‚ a year after he had obtained his BA from the same institution.
On Tuesday‚ Malema issued a statement saying he would attend Magaqa’s funeral‚ provided the arrangements to secure his safety are in place.
Malema also described how close he was to Magaqa‚ who was the secretary-general of the youth league until he and Malema were found guilty of bringing the ANC into disrepute in 2012.
Magaqa was suspended. Malema‚ who was ANCYL leader‚ was expelled from the party‚ together with spokesman Floyd Shivambu.
Magaqa returned to the ANC and was elected as councillor in the Umzimkhulu municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I worked with him. I stayed with him when we got expelled from the ANC. I gave him shelter in my own home in Polokwane when they wanted to kill him. I would have saved his life. I had a duty to save his life.”
Malema described Magaqa as a good thinker‚ who was fearless but always measured.
He also detailed how he had managed his time to ensure that he finished his honours degree on time.
“It has been a very difficult journey. I had to change a lot of things in my life so that I can accommodate the academic programme.”
Malema said he had postponed one examination just before the State of the Nation Address because he had heard that soldiers were being deployed in Parliament. Malema said he had not wanted his comrades to face the soldiers on their own while he was writing an examination.
“In reality‚ we have a lot of time.”