MK vets to march to Luthuli House

President of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and former deputy minister of defence and military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe.
President of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and former deputy minister of defence and military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe.
Image: Daniel Born

The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association in Gauteng  is planning to march to the ANC headquarters to demand the implementation of the party's resolutions.

The march on Monday, which will consist of MKMVA branches across the province, comes in the wake of a number of ANC leaders and unions affiliated to Cosatu calling for the nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank.

"It's not an attack on Luthuli House or the ANC, it is actually in support of the implementation of the resolution," said MKMVA national spokesperson Carl Niehaus. "The march is as a result of a decision that was taken by the provincial leadership of the MKMVA lekgotla to call for the relevant resolutions that were taken at the 54th national conference of the ANC." 

Niehaus was speaking to the Sowetan after a poster of the planned march circulated on social media at the weekend.

However, the Gauteng MK National Council (MKNC), which is a parallel structure of the MKMVA, has denounced this action and accused the provincial MKMVA of being factional.

"The planned Luthuli House march on July 1 2019 by Gauteng MKMVA on issues that are political and of a national nature as they affect all provinces, is suspect," it said. 

"Why march when all you need to know about ANC resolutions and their implementation is to walk two floors into the responsible office? It is indeed a very odd proposed assembly point because MKMVA has been operating from Luthuli House for the past 10 years or more," said the provincial MKNC.

The deep divisions between the national MK leaders showed in 2016 when deputy minister of defence and military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe and his committee rubbished a special council organised by MK National Council leader Siphiwe Nyanda and others at Nasrec, Johannesburg, to unite the former ANC anti-apartheid soldiers.

Maphatsoe, a stanch supporter of former president Jacob Zuma, had called the gathering that of "empty tins", "irrelevant" and "without Struggle credentials".

Both organisations claim to represent the interests of the former MK soldiers but are yet to form a united front.

However, Niehaus said the march was nothing but to push for the urgent implementation of the 2017 national conference, which specifically took a decision concerning the living conditions of ex-MK combatants, many of whom are destitute, pledging to work with the NEC (national executive committee) of the ANC in pursuit of the objective to unite them.

"We need to push for the resolutions of the MKMVA itself, because they are equally important because these discussions and negotiations have been dragging on," said Niehaus.

MKMVA is the second structure of the ANC to march to the party's headquarters with a number of demands, after the ANC Youth League called for the disbandment of the current structure.

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