The uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) on Tuesday called for unity among the structures of the African National Congress (ANC), saying the disgruntled former members of the MK should resolve their differences.
This comes after a group of former MK members and commanders, including former chief of the South African National Defence Force and MK general Siphiwe Nyanda, recently spoke out against the current state of leadership in the ANC.
The grouping’s steering committee includes heavyweights such as deputy minister of agriculture Bheki Cele, correctional services deputy minister Thabang Makwetla and former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni.
Briefing the media at the ANC headquarters about its upcoming 55th anniversary celebrations, MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe said the ANC structures, including former MK members, should refrain from fighting in the media, as public spats raised tempers unnecessarily.
Maphatsoe said the MKMVA was waiting for ANC leadership to provide clarity on when they could engage the council of disgruntled former MK members.
“MKMVA acknowledges and recognises that at the moment, the ANC is on the back foot, threatened by present socioeconomic challenges facing the majority of our people,” Maphatsoe said.
“We therefore call upon all former combatants of the people’s army to set aside their organisational differences and strive for unity, which is important for the ANC to advance its historical mission.”
The former MK members and commanders have called for an assembly to be held this coming Saturday with the aim of consolidating the position of former combatants on the party’s challenges ahead of its consultative and policy conference next year.
Maphatsoe on Tuesday reneged on his word that the MKMVA would not attend this assembly organised by a concerned former MK veterans after previously saying the grouping was “creating a potential for public spats and further disharmony in the movement”.
Instead, Maphatsoe apologised to them and said he had been called to order by the ANC National Executive Council.
“I apologise to the stalwarts who took offence to what I said. I did not want to offend them,” Maphatsoe said.
“We further affirm the position that South Africa without an ethical ANC, united in its focus to advance socioeconomic transformation, would leave our country poorer of the wisdom of more than a century of struggle experience.”
Meanwhile, the MKMVA would be honouring 31 former MK members on Thursday with awards in an annual event inaugurated last year to “memoralise the heroism, selflessness, commitment and service excellence to the struggle of freedom and democracy”.
Maphatsoe continued to defend the MKMVA’s decision to bestow special recognition awards to former Eskom Boss Brian Molefe, South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni and the embattled SABC chief of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Maphatsoe said the three had been “fighting big white monopoly capital”, contributed to transformation at state-owned companies and ensured that a portion of the procurement budgets went to military veterans.
“We will also recognise poet Mzwakhe Mbuli for his contribution to the struggle and all the work he’s been doing. We will also recognise [SARS boss] Tom Moyane because he is one of our own,” Maphatsoe said.
“Next year, we will include [former Prasa boss] Lucky Montana in the special recognition awards.”