Bid to unify splintered MKMVA groupings
Johannesburg - Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) president Kebby Maphatsoe has called on the ANC to punish any ex-combatant who tries to create a parallel structure after the upcoming unity elective conference this month.
Maphatsoe’s remarks come as the ANC’s sub-committee on peace and stability is currently leading the process of uniting the MKMVA and the uMkhonto weSizwe National Council (MKNC) into a single ex-MK formation.
The MKNC was formed as a splinter group from the MKMVA several years ago as Maphatsoe and his leadership collective were accused by ex-combatants of misrepresenting their interests and of recruiting younger people who had no Struggle track record into the association.
While the MKMVA had been strong backers of former president Jacob Zuma and openly defended him amid his controversies, the MKNC were openly critical of him and his leadership.
Efforts to unite the organisation, which was a resolution of the ANC’s 2017 national conference at Nasrec, are being led by ANC leader Tony Yengeni.
Maphatsoe said the ex-combatants were finally finding one another through the unity process. “We want political unity among ourselves. We want to clear the database because there are rumours that we are recruiting young people to be members of our organisation,” he said.
The all-inclusive conference is set to be held on March 13, and Maphatsoe said all ex-combatants had the duty to accept its outcome, as both the MKMVA and MKNC leaders were actively involved in organising it, including reporting back to joint provincial structures on the process which continued over the weekend.
“The ANC must deal harshly with anyone who will come with a parallel structure again,” Maphatsoe said.
MKNC secretary-eneral Gregory Nthatisi said the conference had to ensure that authentic ex-combatants were brought together and that their various skills were channelled to good use by the ANC and the government.
“The most important thing about this conference is not even about who is elected. It is about the content that comes out, including how the country can make use of the investment made by the liberation movement in training these soldiers,” Nthatisi said.
He said the authenticity of ex-combatants would have to be verified by the conference as the database had been manipulated to benefit people who were wrongly recruited.