News24 Wire
3 minute read
14 Jun 2021
8:07 pm

‘We will not disband’: Niehaus tells ANC that MKMVA won’t be disrespected

News24 Wire

Earlier this month, the ANC's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, announced that the group lead by Kebby Maphatsoe would be disbanded.

Carl Niehaus. Picture: Gallo Images

The uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Association (MKMVA) have slammed the ANC for refusing to listen to its concerns.

The MKMVA said it was left with no other option but to state categorically that it will not disband itself.

Earlier this month, the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, announced that the group lead by Kebby Maphatsoe would be disbanded and that a tentative committee would be set up in its place.

ALSO READ: ‘I’m not trying to be factional,’ Niehaus says about his RET stance

However, the MKMVA said it did not recognise the ANC’s Preparatory Committee that the ANC, NWC (national working committee) and National Office Bearers had imposed to prepare for a unitary conference.

“MKMVA will continue with our programmes, and the national executive committee (NEC) of MKMVA will continue to carry out our mandate and serve out the term that we have been elected to at our 5th National Conference in 2017 at the Birchwood Conference Centre,” said the national spokesperson, Carl Niehaus.

The move to disband the two MK-veterans groups comes months before the military veterans celebrate the 60th of the party’s military wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

On Monday, a meeting between the National Office Bearers of the ANC, the National Office Bearers of the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and MK National Council was held virtually.

The MKMVA said it was concerned by how the Chairperson of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, conducted the meeting.

Disband

The MKMVA said after the opening remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa that a decision was taken to disband the MKMVA.

It requested explanations about the steps in line with the letter that the president of MKMVA, Kebby Maphatsoe, wrote on Sunday the 6th of June 2021 to the deputy secretary-general of the ANC, Jessie Duarte, requesting for proper explanations to be provided.

ALSO READ: ANC battle lines drawn over MKMVA disbanding

The veterans’ group said that while expressing their concerns and insisting that reasons should be provided, Mantashe abruptly ended the virtual Zoom meeting.

Niehaus said: “Other members of the MKMVA National Office Bearers were not even provided with an opportunity to speak. MKMVA, as an official constitutional and legal structure, feels fundamentally disrespected. This engagement was alien to the democratic culture of the African National Congress, which has always been to debate, and to respect divergent views. MKMVA was being dictated to in an entirely un-ANC manner. We will not be disrespected, nor will we bow to a dictatorship.”

The veterans group said the decision of the ANC’s NWC and National Office Bearers to disband the MKMVA had no legal or proper political standing.

The MKMVA said it had diligently tried to implement the decision for an MK-unitary process to be embarked on, as was resolved by the 54th National Conference of the ANC.

“We did so under the auspices of the Peace and Stability Sub-committee of the ANC, as chaired by comrade Tony Yengeni. It was the MK National Council that unilaterally, and abruptly, withdrew from that process,” said Niehaus

The group accused the ANC of running a factional character, favouring the MK National Council.

“The ill-discipline and factionalism of the MK National Council is rewarded, while our disciplined conduct is disregarded, and we are in fact punished. All this is done without any preparedness by the ANC National Office Bearers to be accountable, and refusing to give us reasons, nor providing us with an adequate opportunity to raise our concerns and objections,” said Niehaus.

Pule Leshwiti-Jones