Anti-apartheid activists and ANC stalwarts have raised concerns over the so-called Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) “veterans” who protected the party’s headquarters, Luthuli House, during the People’s March in Johannesburg last week.
Their youthfulness – a clear indication they are in no way MK veterans – has been a cause for concern, not only to the real veterans of the struggle, but also to the public at large.
In a statement, the ANC stalwarts said the young men who circled Luthuli House dressed in MK camouflage gear during the anti-Zuma march looked “too young” to have possibly served in the military wing of the ANC.
The veterans said it was an insult to the fallen heroes of the struggle and that South Africa, being a constitutional democracy, “did not need private armies”.
“Who are these people‚ the majority whose age exposes them as too young to have ever served in MK; who are these people who believe that anyone can dress up as though they fought against apartheid in our military wing?” the stalwarts said in a statement.
“It is an insult to our fallen heroes and those who served without thought of material benefits. We live in a constitutional democracy, and we do not need private armies to defend our movement.
“Our tradition has always been to respect the views of others‚ to listen‚ to learn‚ to accept constructive criticism. It is therefore with deep concern that we hear of anonymous threats to individuals and families who have raised their concerns about the present state of the movement and the need for honest introspection. Threats‚ intimidation and violence have no place in our country‚ irrespective of their source.”
Meanwhile, people on social media also raised questions on the authenticity of this said “private army”. Like the veterans, the age of the young men was a problem to many on Twitter.
This is what some had to say:
#AntiZumaMarch These Mk veterans showing their support for Zuma are looking very young to be Mk maybe they should just call them Marshalls.
— Tsuli (@Tsuli007) April 7, 2017
It seems to me you start to qualify as a MK Veteran when you leave school after grade 6 like Zuma did. Very youthful "veterans" indeed! Hehe
— Fanie Le Mans (@ExpoFanie) April 7, 2017