The South African

Angry ANC ‘veterans’ hit the streets in KZN

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Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) president Kebby Maphatsoe says demonstrating ANC cadres in KwaZulu-Natal have the full backing of the national office.

He says MK veterans in KZN have been “suffering and consulting” over ways to resolve some of their challenges for some time, but felt marching to the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters in the province was the best course of action after all other attempts had failed.

Deep divisions

The vets are demanding that ANC’s 2017 elective conference resolutions be implemented, action be taken against corrupt members, and calling for the removal of their own provincial executive committee.

Maphatsoe said there were divisions in the association, claiming some of the frustrations stemmed from the MKMVA and the MK council, led by former generals and commissars of the ANC’s liberation army’s inability to hold an all-inclusive conference.

The conference was postponed several times leading up to the lockdown, which saw the prohibition of large gatherings.

“Because there has [not] been a unity conference as a result of the lockdown, most of these structures have been left paralysed,” explained Maphatsoe.

The MKMVA and MK council represents two warring factions, with the latter prominently emerging in the lead up to the ANC Nasrec conference.

The MK Council has called for a “cleaning up” of the MKMVA and for it to refocus its attention on the needs of the governing party’s military veterans.

Rejects call for its disbandment

The MKMVA has previously been blasted for operating as “henchmen” along with some ANC youth league operatives in its support of former President Jacob Zuma and attacking those opposed to the former ANC leader.

Just last month the MKMVA hit out at ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC NEC after rumours calling for the Association’s disbandment began circulating.

Maphatsoe said his KZN comrades had reached out to the ANC PEC led by chairperson Sihle Zikalala. However, he added, after just one meeting, attempts to schedule further discussions had been ‘blocked’ by the PEC.

The MKMVA chief said the KZN vets have also been dubbed the “disgruntled illegitimate.”

“They became angry, and have taken their own initiative on these issues and marched to the ANC.”

He said they consulted with the national office expressing frustration over the “suffering” of former combatants, saying some were “dying” and that the veterans’ PEC in the province were not “taking any of their concerns seriously.”

Maphatsoe said those who demonstrated did so not as individuals but as part of a constituency of the association.

Not the first time

In January 2019, a group of MKMVA members stormed the offices of the provincial ANC office in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The incident was reportedly timed to coincide with the visit of ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was in the province for the governing party’s January 8 birthday celebrations.

MKMVA provincial head in KZN, Themba Mavundla, said at the time that he did not know what their grievances were.



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