Eric Naki
Political Editor
3 minute read
11 Oct 2017
5:00 am

MK veterans wage war over ‘unconstitutional’ conference

Eric Naki

The MK National Council was not part of the conference.

Kebby Maphatsoe. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Umkhonto weSizwe military veterans aligned to the MK National Council are demanding the ANC national executive committee (NEC) annul the recent national conference of the MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), claiming it was unconstitutional.

The MK National Council was not part of the conference. It is crying foul about the legitimacy of the MKMVA conference and its delegates.

But MKMVA national chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe, a staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma and presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was re-elected as MKMVA’s president at the June conference, came out guns blazing.

He said the MK National Council was not an official structure of the ANC as it was not recognised by the party and accused the council of trying to paralyse the MKMVA.

The department of military veterans funded the conference and President Jacob Zuma addressed it. Maphatsoe said the council’s intention was to destroy the MKMVA and derail the radical economic transformation agenda.

“MKMVA puts it on record that our fifth national conference was properly and legally constituted in terms of our constitution.

“The delegates who participated were properly accredited (and) the election of our national office-bearers and additional NEC members was conducted by an independent organisation with an unsullied reputation,” Maphatsoe said.

However, he extended an olive branch to the MK National Council, saying he was prepared to engage with them.

But the MKMVA would wait on the outcome of the complaint laid by individual national council members to the ANC NEC about the legitimacy of the MKMVA conference, he added.

At the weekend, military veterans affiliated to the MK National Council held a two-day conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

It was attended by former ANC NEC member Zola Skweyiya, NEC member and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise and struggle stalwarts and veterans.

Addresses were given by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and presidential hopefuls Lindiwe Sisulu and Cyril Ramaphosa.

The conference resolved that the ANC must declare the MKMVA conference in June null and void. They said Maphatsoe held the conference in contravention of the decision of the ANC NEC that the MKMVA and the MK National Council steering committee must hold a joint all-inclusive national conference to unify the former military wing of the party.

The MK National Council said Maphatsoe and the department of military veterans must account for the funding of the illegal conference. They vowed to lay fraud charges against Maphatsoe and the department officials.

In a report to the MK National Council at the weekend, MKMVA general-secretary Dumisani Nduli, who is cooperating with the MK National Council amid divisions in the MKMVA, said Maphatsoe’s actions had contravened the spirit of the ANC NEC’s plan.

This included appointing an ad-hoc committee to help the two sides to cooperate in organising a joint conference.

Nduli said the MKMVA conference in June was unconstitutional because regional structures and non-MK people had participated in it.

He said 60% of those who attended were not on the MK database and that of the 901 voting delegates at the conference, 325 were not on the list.