Newly re-elected Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) president Kebby Maphatsoe on Monday rubbished claims that he had forced the department of military veterans to fork out R8 million to finance the association’s fifth elective conference.
Maphatsoe, who is also deputy minister of the military veterans department, said his organisation had proof that no one was coerced to pay for its conference held earlier this month in Ekurhuleni.
According to a Sunday Times report at the weekend, Maphatsoe “twisted arms” to get the department’s acting director-general, Max Ozynski, to release the R8 million in funding.
But Maphatsoe insisted MKMVA had followed procedures in requesting funding and wrote a letter to the department.
“I did not twist the DG’s hand. I don’t have executive powers to do that even … I could have been charged by now,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
“The facts are that the minister authorised funding for the conference.”
He said Ozynski wrote back to the MKMVA and said the decision on funding belonged with the council on defence, and not the department.
“We do not know how the council on defence comes into the affairs of military veterans, because we have a fully fledged department of military veterans established … he then suggested that the MKMVA and the military veterans minister [Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula] sit and decide on the conference funding … I have all the letters here,” said Maphatsoe.
He then denied allegations by a competing veterans grouping, the MK National Council, led by former SA National Defence Force (SANDF) general Siphiwe Nyanda, that the MKMVA conference was marred by fraudulent accreditation. The council said 60 percent of delegates were serving members of the SANDF, while others were former members of the apartheid-era defence force.
“On arrival at the conference, the delegates had to present their credentials and were duly registered in a professional manner. We reject the unsubstantiated allegations that the accreditation of delegates at our conference was flawed or fraudulent.”
Both MK structures claim to represent the interests of all former anti-apartheid soldiers.
The MK Council’s own elective conference is scheduled to take place in August.