The ANC’s top bosses, led by Cyril Ramaphosa, have warned its rival military veterans associations to desist from acts that promote factionalism and social disorder within the party.
Ramaphosa was speaking after the ANC’s extended national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Monday night.
He said the NEC resolved to dismantle the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) under Kebby Maphatsoe and the uMkhonto weSizwe National Council under General Siphiwe Nyanda, now High Commissioner to Mozambique.
Ramaphosa made his intentions clear to dismantle the rival bodies ‒ with the view of forming one single military veterans entity to represent all former ANC liberation fighters.
The party’s decision coincided with an instruction that all ANC members, including secretary-general Ace Magashule, who is facing criminal charges, should step down within 30 days or face suspension.
Detailing the decision on the former MK combatants, Ramaphosa said: “The NEC expressed concern at the use of the name of uMkhonto weSizwe to promote factionalism in the ANC and engage in acts of social instability.
“The meeting warned against utterances or actions that bring the proud history and noble legacy of uMkhonto weSizwe into disrepute.
“The meeting urged the implementation of the conference resolution to urgently convene a conference to form a united structure of all MK military veterans,” he said.
Ramaphosa said a process should be initiated to bring the MK Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) and the MK National Council together towards the convening of the united conference.
He urged members of these structures to desist forthwith from any activities that contribute to social disorder in society, or cause disunity or factionalism in the ANC.
Insiders, however, say NEC members were particularly incensed by a letter Maphatsoe had written to the ANC, challenging the party’s decision to vote in favour of the DA’s motion for a probe into the conduct of embattled Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
In the letter dated March 26, which coincided with the NEC meeting, Maphatsoe wrote: “MKMVA calls on the forthcoming meeting of the ANC national executive committee to reprimand the relevant national office bearers for the wrong decision that they have enforced, and to reconsider the ANC position.”
He further wrote: “It is critically important as we move forward that there must be clarity, both with regards to procedures and principles. The current confusion cannot be allowed to continue.
’’It causes discord within the ANC and also undermines our stature in the eyes of the general South African population.”
He said a “reasonable ANC NEC’’ was expected to instruct all ANC MPs to vote against the DA motion.
“This should be applicable not only with regards to the process that the DA initiated to remove the incumbent Public Protector, but also with regards to all future motions that the DA may wish to table in Parliament,” Maphatsoe said.
But Ramaphosa had none of it. Defending the decision to vote for the motion, he said: “The NEC reflected on the ANC’s approach to the issue of the Public Protector currently in Parliament.
’’The NEC noted that the matter was dealt with in terms of the rules adopted by the National Assembly for the removal of a head of a chapter 9 institution.
’’Following the findings of the independent experts that the Public Protector had a prima facie case to answer, the ANC caucus agreed to support a motion in the National Assembly to move to the next stage of the process in terms of its rules,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the NEC confirmed the responsibility of the ANC political committee in Parliament to oversee matters before caucus and to consult with, and be guided by officials and headquarters as and when required.