Kebby mum on MK camp escape claims
Johannesburg - MKMVA chair Kebby Maphatsoe would on Wednesday not comment on “faceless” claims that Ugandan police shot him when he tried to escape from an Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) labour camp during the armed struggle.
“The people who must comment are the people who were there (in Uganda), not people who are faceless. I do not want to comment on comments from people who were not there,” he said.
“The people I trained in Uganda and my commanders are the ones that can speak.”
The Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday that according to unnamed former MK members, Maphatsoe was part of a group of dissenting African National Congress and MK members during the armed resistance against apartheid. MK was the armed wing of the ANC.
He was reportedly one of about 30 “rebels” who were held in an MK labour camp in Angola before being taken to a camp in Uganda.
According to the report they allegedly tried to escape by running through a game reserve.
Ugandan police apparently shot Maphatsoe to stop him from landing up in an animal's jaws. According to the unnamed former MK members, this was where he lost the use of his hand.
The dissenters were returned to South Africa in 1994, apparently with the help of Amnesty International, according to Beeld.
Former MK intelligence chief and intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils was quoted in the Beeld as saying he did not know anything about Maphatsoe's time in the MK.
“I was there long before him. I know absolutely nothing about the man's background,” he said.
“He appeared on the scene out of nowhere, went out of his way to defend (President Jacob) Zuma and was rewarded.”
Maphatsoe said he did not expect Kasrils to know him.
“I belonged to the young lions' detachment (of MK) that came later. If I was unknown, how can I be elected as chair of the MKMVA (Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association)?” he asked.
“He (Kasrils) is anti-ANC. The MKMVA does not recognise his statement. If he wants to know about me, the MKMVA offices are on the seventh floor of (ANC headquarters) Luthuli House.”
The Star reported on Monday that Maphatsoe, who is also deputy defence and military veterans minister, had accused Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of being a spy, insinuating she worked for the US's CIA.
“We can't allow people to hijack the ANC. We'll fight and defend the African National Congress,” Maphatsoe reportedly said at the tombstone unveiling of MK combatant, Linda 'Lion of Tshiawelo' Jabane, in Soweto on Saturday.
“uThuli umele asitshele ukuthi ubani ihandler yakhe (Thuli must tell us who her handler is).
“They are even using our institutions now.... These Chapter Nine institutions were created by the ANC but are now being used against us, and if you ask why, it is the Central Intelligence Agency. Ama (the) Americans want their own CEO in South Africa and we must not allow that.”
Madonsela's office on Monday gave Maphatsoe three days to back his allegations, or issue an apology and retraction. Maphatsoe apologised on Tuesday.
“On Saturday and Monday, I made statements in my capacity as the national chairperson on behalf of MKMVA about the public protector,” Maphatsoe said in a statement.
“After consultation with my organisation, the African National Congress, it would seem as though my statements have been misunderstood and misinterpreted.
“I therefore withdraw those statements and apologise for any offences and hurt that would have been caused,” Maphatsoe said.