The Hawks is claiming that former ANCYL Secretary Sindiso Magaqa was poisoned because he was one of the key witnesses in their probe into political killings in KZN.

The Hawks lamented that his passing is a serious setback for the unit and their investigation into the killings.

Magaqa died on Monday night at Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi on Tuesday confirmed the priority crimes unit was looking into rumours that the ANC councillor from Umzimkhulu in southern KZN could have been poisoned.

“We have heard that [he was poisoned]‚ of course‚ so we have to do a postmortem. We will only know for sure after that,” he said.

”If true, that means he was poisoned by politicians with dirty hands,” he alleged.

Mulaudzi said the Hawks were now prioritising the postmortem because of the rumour.

“We’re still trying to ascertain what transpired‚ whether it was because of his injuries. There’s a lot we’re still looking at. We don’t want to make unnecessary pronouncements. What I can say is that a murder case has been opened linked to the shooting [in July].”

He was well-known as the secretary-general of the ANCYL before it was disbanded in 2012 after its leadership, under then league president Julius Malema, was found guilty of bringing the ANC into disrepute.

Magaqa’s death on Monday night after a month in hospital, where he was recovering from gunshot wounds, has sent shockwaves across the political spectrum amid the ongoing Moerane Commission of Inquiry into the spate of political killings in KZN.