Relatives suspect foul play

2011-01-02 15:26

Relatives of controversial businessman Sandi Majali suspect foul play in his mysterious death.

A well-placed source, who spent time at the Majali household near Port St Johns after his death, told City Press that Majali’s brothers and cousins suspect he may have been poisoned while in custody for his alleged role in the hijacking of mining firm Kalahari Resources.

A resident of Qhukuswayo ­village, where Majali’s family lived, asked: “Why was he the only one to come out of prison sick when five of them were arrested?”

Community leader Magunya Mthakathi, the brother of William Mthakathi, mayor of Port St Johns, said villagers had been waiting for Majali on Friday and Saturday but were shocked to learn on Sunday that he had died.

He was described by villagers as a shining light for the network of villages mostly inhabited by his Majola clan.

In these villages, where the most successful residents are spaza shop owners and public servants, Majali was undoubtedly the pride of the clan.

To the residents of Qhukuswayo, a picturesque hilltop village overlooking the Umzimvubu River in the Wild Coast town of Port St Johns, Mtshekwana, as Majali was affectionately known, was better known as the late Masifombo’s son and the host of the area’s annual Christmas party.

Both of Majali’s parents died a few years ago and their graves are in the family home’s garden, as is the practice in Eastern Cape.

He was not at last Saturday’s (Christmas Day) party which was to be followed by his cousin Sikhalweni’s wedding on Tuesday.

By Wednesday villagers continued partying and feasted on the three sheep that were slaughtered – not in the same league as the three cows Majali normally shared with his neighbours when he came home for Christmas.

Distant relatives and neighbours told City Press that three cows were slaughtered during the 2009 Christmas function, which ­normally draws people from all the surrounding villages.

Majali’s son, Phillip, is a regular visitor to the village and also attended the 2009 function together with his father.

Majali’s palatial home is testimony to his success.

He was born to a poor family in Selwane, a village not far from Qhukuswayo, where his family later settled.

He was raised by his father’s younger brother, Masiliva, who also died a few years ago.

Masiliva’s sons – Bhobhobho, Sikhalweni, Mdu and Mzuzile – are regarded as Majali’s brothers.

Majali also has two biological brothers. One of them, Mthalala, was present during Sikhalweni’s wedding.

Locals say Majali also owned a filling station in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, until a few years ago.

He had been known to arrive in his village with a number of burly bodyguards and held endless meetings when he was home, with his guests having to brave the ­descent to his home.

The inside of his house was out of bounds to villagers, who partied outside whenever there was a function in Majali’s homestead.

His visitors had to park their cars a few metres from his home and “tighten their knees”, as one resident described the walk.

Majali is arguably the most ­famous person yet to come out of Port St Johns, including the surrounding villages.

In fact, some of the villagers even speculate that he went through ukuthwala (not the controversial abducting of underage girls for marriage, but the practice whereby a medicine man performs rituals to strengthen a businessperson’s ­enterprises).

Majali was in the process of ­divorcing his wife, with whom he has three children.

He is expected to be laid to rest on Sunday next to his parents in Qhukuswayo.

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