Concerned former uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) veterans will be convening an urgent council meeting of former MK members next week in a bid to constructively help the African National Congress (ANC) with its current political challenges.
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On Monday, more than 20 former senior commanders and commissars held a briefing at Lilies Leaf in Rivonia, where they added their voices to the growing calls for the governing party’s structure to turn to self-introspection and organisational renewal following a slew of scandals and electoral losses suffered by the ANC.
Speaking on behalf of the MK vets, former Cabinet minister General Siphiwe Nyanda conceded that the group had been standing on the sidelines for too long and failed to intervene in the ANC’s political problems.
“The purpose of the gathering is to bring former members of MK to assist with key challenges facing the ANC and our country. We are going to be dealing with our concerns about MKMVA [Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association]‚ the ANC and the ANC’s veterans league‚” Nyanda said.
He said they have formed a national steering committee representing all nine provinces, where they intend convening a National Emergency General Council on December 17.
With President Jacob Zuma taking flak for the ANC’s vexing challenges, compounded by a raft of scandals dogging his time in office, the MK vets did not want to point fingers at the president, saying they wanted to add constructively to building the mother body back to its former glory.
“We need to assist the ANC in finding solutions on the present challenges … our view is that we need to defend the gains of the hard-won democracy.”
The ANC’s top six, the party’s stalwarts as well as the executives of the MK Military Veterans will be invited, Nyanda said.
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The briefing by the MK vets comes as more than 100 ANC anti-apartheid struggle veterans met with top party officials on Monday at Luthuli House. They want secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, his deputy, Jessie Duarte, and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize for their call for a consultative conference to be held in March next year instead of June during the ANC’s policy conference, as announced by the national executive committee (NEC) last Tuesday.
The stalwarts have argued that the meeting would not address key concerns contained in a lengthy document they released publicly last month, titled For the sake of our future. They believe a separate “substantive” consultation comprising different stakeholders concerned about the ANC’s future is the only way the party can reflect on its problems adequately.