Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Tuesday said he would attend the funeral of former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa on condition that a "thorough security assessment" is done beforehand to ensure that his life is not taken by "bloodthirsty murderers".
In a statement, Malema said he recently missed a funeral because of threats made on his life.
"We never fear death, but no one takes our life. As revolutionaries, we give our lives to the struggle, and if needs be, we shall pay with our lives, but not under the conditions chosen by hostile forces."
Malema said he wanted to attend the funeral to pay his respects and find peace after the trauma he had suffered following the news of Magaqa's death.
Malema said he was on his way back from a meeting when he received news of Magaqa's passing.
"The phone call carrying this sad news was brief and to the point, yet it froze my entire body in shock to the point of inevitable and unending tears," Malema said.
"I could not withhold my tears, which uncontrollably kept showering my face. The last time a shadow of death overcame my heart in such a manner it was on the occasion of the passing of my mother."
Malema said he was "shocked" to receive an invitation from the KwaZulu-Natal ANCYL to Magaqa'a funeral.
"I do not know of anywhere in our traditions where people get invited to funerals."
Date for funeral not yet set
ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza told News24 that no invitations to the funeral were issued.
"People who seek to attend funerals never attend on an invite," Nzuza said. He said Malema's claim that he had received an invitation was a publicity stunt.
Nzuza said a date for Magaqa's funeral hadn't been set yet.
Magaqa, a ward councillor in Umzimkhulu in southern KwaZulu-Natal, died at the Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban on Monday from gunshot wounds he sustained in a suspected ambush in July. He was 35 years old.
Magaqa and two other Umzimkhulu ANC councillors were shot on July 13 while on their way back from an ANC meeting, KwaZulu-Natal community safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda said in July.
"As the victims arrived at the bus stop, they were attacked by unknown assailants who were armed with rifles. They sustained serious injuries after the suspects unleashed a hail of bullets at their car," Kaunda said.
Kaunda said two councillors and a former councillor from the same municipality had been shot dead within four months.
In April, Harry Gwala ANC region deputy secretary and Umzimkhulu municipality speaker Khaya Thobela were shot dead. In May, former Umzimkhulu councillor and branch leader Khaya Mgcwaba was gunned down.
Later that month, Mduduzi Tshibase‚ a teacher and Umzimkhulu councillor, was killed at his home in Umzimkhulu.
Political analysts who testified at the Moerane Commission into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal said most killings were related to competition over political positions. In October last year, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu announced that he was setting up the Moerane Commission following a spate of political killings in the province.