MK bomb claim blasted

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) knows nothing about the organisation that claims to be behind the country's spate of ATM bombings.

Plaatjie Mashego, who says he is the leader of the Maluleka Social Movement of the Unemployed, on Sunday said they train people in Swaziland and were on a recruitment drive.

Mashego said they target ATMs to protest against the high level of unemployment and want to force South Africa to establish a ministry of the unemployed.

After a bust in December at a secret training camp in Swaziland, Mashego demanded to share the platform with that country's prime minister, Themba Dlamini, in an effort to gain support for the organisation

MKMVA Gauteng chairman Kebby Maphatsoe said his organisation comprises former military operatives of the ANC .

"Our members are part of Labour Department programmes in which they are trained in various skills. Some people just like dragging our name in the mud," Maphatsoe said.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) poured cold water on claims by Mashego that their members had military training.

Senior researcher Johan Burger said it was clear that the ATM bombers had very little or no military expertise at all. He said they were not a threat to political stability.

"Looking at the incident at the weekend in which two Mozambicans and one South African working in a mine in the North West were arrested, it is clearly easy to get explosives.

"And looking at the rate in which ATM bombings have increased from 65 incidents last year to more than 160 in the first six months of this year, it is clear that ATM bombers are a serious crime threat," Burger said.

Superintendent Ronnie Naidoo said: "The organised crime unit is already investigating the claims. But we are not looking for Mashego as yet."

Chief executive of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, Gilbert Swats, said they would respond to Mashego's claims today.

Mashego vowed yesterday to continue the bombing campaign until the government and business attend to their demands.