The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) has expressed concern at the “alleged incidences of shootings into the air that had apparently taken place” outside the Johannesburg home of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
“As MKMVA we embrace uMama Winnie as one of our very own commanders and cadres. The military component of our liberation struggle and the important role that uMama played as a liberation soldier of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) we are very proud of,” the MKMVA said in a statement on Sunday.
However, a critical part of the training and life of any liberation soldier was discipline and respect for life. That discipline could never condone the “reckless shooting of arms into the air”, especially not in civilian and populated areas where lives could be endangered, it said.
“Such behaviour is not revolutionary and MKMVA distances ourselves and all our members from it. We call on all our members to refrain from any such actions, and to report any person whom they are aware of who behave in this ill disciplined manner to the relevant authorities.
“MKMVA is concerned that criminal elements may be taking advantage of our deeply felt emotions – and the expression thereof – with the passing on of uMama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. We support the police investigations that have been launched into the apparent reckless incidences of shooting into the air, and those who have been responsible should be apprehended and the law should take its course,” the MKMVA statement said.
On Saturday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said that contrary to earlier reports no body was discovered near Madikizela-Mandela’s Soweto, Johannesburg home where ex MK combatants fired shots in the air the previous night.
Cele said cartridges were discovered but there was no evidence of someone having died as a result of the shootings.
”I think the narrative was that police picked up cartridges, which is a proper procedure for investigation to find out what gun was used and who it belonged to… so we had to pick up those cartridges for investigation, not because someone was shot. No one was shot, no one was injured or died,” Cele told reporters.
Following the shooting, the street entrance to Madikizela-Mandela’s house was barricaded by police early Saturday, limiting access to the gate.
Madikizela-Mandela was the former wife of late South African statesman Nelson Mandela. She died, aged 81, at Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital on April 2. Thousands of people are expected to convene at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium for her funeral on April 14. The national memorial service will be held at the same venue on April 11. She will be buried at Fourways Memorial Park, north of Johannesburg.
– African News Agency (ANA)