Johannesburg - The ANC military veterans in Gauteng have gone on the offensive against critics of ANC president Jacob Zuma, calling them names and questioning their leadership and struggle credentials.
The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) targeted DA leader Helen Zille, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota and UDM leader Bantu Holomisa following opposition parties’ call in Parliament for a vote of no confidence in Zuma.
The military veterans, who support Zuma’s bid for a second term at the Mangaung elective conference next month, accused Zille and the DA of having supported the apartheid regime and conducting cross-border attacks on Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. The veterans also claimed Zille and her party were taking instructions from foreign capitals.
The IFP was labelled an outdated bantustan party that was approaching political obscurity. The veterans said the IFP was an ANC project gone wrong - “our factory fault”.
They said Buthelezi was its life president who was afraid of renewal and “is suffering from the old and cannot appreciate change and renewal”.
Lekota was described as a “perennial failure, including the time when he was minister of defence” for the ANC.
An MKMVA leader, Thami Mali, said Lekota had failed to get a single unqualified report from the auditor-general when he was still a minister in an ANC cabinet.
Holomisa was labelled an unrehabilitated “tin-pot dictator of a defunct and corrupt bantustan suffering from praetorianism [a corrupt military despotism]”.
Mali said: “He is a fake leader who joined the ANC after its unbanning. He is everything: a spokesperson, leader. Internal party democracy is unknown [in his party].”
The veterans called upon their members to defend the ANC and Zuma, but said no violence would be used.
The name-calling came weeks after the ANC military veterans in KwaZulu-Natal urged ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe not to stand against Zuma, or face the consequences.
There were also reported violent clashes between military veterans in Limpopo and supporters of expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema during ANC centenary celebrations in September.
Holomisa reacted by saying: “They [ANC military veterans] must go to hell.”
In his reaction, Lekota said the call for a vote of no confidence was made in line with the constitutional obligation of all elected representatives of the parties in Parliament.
He invoked various sections in the constitution that he said allowed MPs to make such a call if any executive members of Parliament were found to have been in breach of the constitution.
The IFP laughed off the allegations, saying military veterans were just rehashing a statement Malema had made against the IFP in 2009.
Zille sarcastically reacted by saying: “And the moon is made of green cheese.”