The move on the ANC’s part to disband its armed military wing, the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), was met with fierce opposition.
Members of the MKMVA said they refuse to accept the disbandment, with spokesperson Carl Niehaus on Sunday saying: “MKMVA belongs to the people, MKMVA belongs to those who are the MK combatants who dedicated their lives for the liberation of South Africa.
“The ANC that I joined 42 years ago is an organisation that cares for its people. The ANC that I joined would never have done what Gwede Mantashe did last week in that meeting.”
This follows after Mantashe abruptly ended a zoom call while virtually meeting with the ANC top six earlier this month.
Niehaus said the MKMVA was formed by military veterans, “not by some comrades who are now telling us to disband”. Niehaus said it is because of MKMVA that today there’s a department of military veterans and the Military Veterans Act of 2011 to secure the rights of MK members.
While MKMVA members are loyal to the ANC, Niehaus said if the party “behaves un-ANC” and in a manner which goes against its revolutionary roots, MKMVA members will go to court.
And we will win because the law is on our side.
He called on MKMVA members to unite against division tactics from within the party. Niehaus said South Africa would not be free until full economic liberation is achieved and white monopoly capital is eradicated.
“Our freedom will never be full, our people will never be free, our young people will never have jobs, the horizon of a true and liberated South Africa will never arrive until we have full economic liberation in this country; until we bring an end to the strangle grip that white monopoly capital has on every one of us and the way they control this economy.”
He concluded the address by saving the struggle for liberation is not negotiable, and expressed disgust at some of his “fellow comrades literally crawling on their knees, picking up crumbs from the table of white monopoly capitalism”.
“Comrades, uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association must continue with our sacred revolutionary task. Backwards never, forward ever, Amandla.”
Niehaus later told eNCA that the ANC has no legal right to disband the MKMVA.
“As far as the MKMVA is concerned, we do not accept this disbandment. We have been very clear that we have supported the objective of uniting all ex-MK veterans.”
Niehaus called on the National Office Bearers of the ANC to engage with MKMVA “in a sensible way and to hear our concerns”, adding that MKMVA felt disrespected by Mantashe’s prior actions.
“This engagement was alien to the democratic culture of the ANC, which has always been to debate and to respect divergent views. MKMVA was being dictated to in an entirely un-ANC manner.”