African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Reverend Frank Chikane says the call by the party’s anti-Apartheid veterans to meet President Jacob Zuma to discuss their concerns of the state of the organisation and country has got nothing to do with insulting anyone but to save the party from decline.
Speaking to Power FM on Friday afternoon Chikane was asked about comments made by deputy minister of defence and military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe that the more than 100 past masters were “empty tins”, “irrelevant” and “without struggle credentials” for demanding Zuma’s audience and some calling on him to resign.
“I don’t think one should respond to that conversation; I think we need to speak to what we are talking about. What we are talking about here is an African National Congress that is hurting. It’s an ANC that is losing its credibility and that is raising doubts in the minds of millions of people who believe in this organisation because of the manner in which the leadership presents it and the manner in which they deal with issues that affect it and its leaders.
“And I’ve often used the issue of Nkandla … it illustrates exactly where the problem is. When that matter arose, the manner in which the leaders handled it and the manner it ended up in court, the manner in which they ended up in parliament, it had a negative impact on the integrity and character of the ANC.
“That’s what we are saying – we are saying that this must change if you want to save the ANC and thereby save the country because the country gets affected by this.” said Reverend Chikane.
Maphatsoe, who’s also the chairperson of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association (MKVA), took a swipe at the group that includes Rivonia triallists Ahmed Kathrada and Andrew Mlangeni, as “so-called veterans” mounting an attack against Zuma and just making “noise”.
“Some of those veterans don’t have good struggle credentials. Those who have good struggle credentials are sitting in the processes of the ANC. They are empty tins making noise there,” he said.
On Thursday, the group said they were waiting for a response from Zuma on their September request to meet with him.
They also presented a document with suggestions on the way forward for the ANC, titled For the Sake of Our Future, which was sent to the ANC top-six leaders.