Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members protesting outside Premier David Makhura’s offices in Newtown. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members protesting outside Premier David Makhura’s offices in Newtown. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Mbalula vs MKMVA: A glimpse into the true state of the ANC

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Oct 17, 2020

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Johannesburg – The war of words that unfolded this week between Transport Minister and ANC national executive committee (NEC) senior figure Fikile Mbalula and the MKMVA’s Carl Niehaus and Kebby Maphatsoe could be summed up as an incident that the ruling ANC could have done without.

The tiff is centred around the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), which cancelled the contracts of security companies previously contracted to guard the railways, citing under performance of the security companies and instituted plans to in-source some 3 000 security guards.

The MKMVA accused Mbalula of having overseen the country’s railway transport system while it has come to almost a complete halt.

The lines were drawn when the MKMVA on Sunday called for Mbalula’s arrest over Prasa’s state of dysfunction.

On Monday, the veterans, as they prepared to march to the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters and Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s Marshalltown, Johannesburg office, said they wanted the “arrest of the transport minister for the damaged railway network”.

This open declaration of war by the MKMVA was not one that Mbalula would take lying down and it ensured a bevy of insults and personal attacks, directed at Niehaus and Maphatsoe, emanating from Mbalula’s Twitter account would unfold.

Taking exception to his suggested arrest by the MKMVA, Mbalula became unhinged on Twitter, where his 2.3 million followers bore witness to a tirade of attacks that he launched against Maphatsoe and Niehaus.

Of the pair, Mbalula said: “They run amok organising marches threatening the rule of law. Suspected criminals Kebby and Karl Niehaus.”

Continuing his diatribe against Maphatsoe and Niehaus, Mbalula said: “Kebby Maphatsoe ran away from the camps that is why he's got one hand, He lost his hand from cowardice not in a fight against apartheid. Coward.”

In another explosive tweet, Mbalula also slated Niehaus for allegedly faking the death of his mother and suggested that Niehaus was a lackey of secretary-general Ace Magashule.

Mbalula revealed on Wednesday that he had been summoned to the party’s headquarters this Monday to explain the series of explosive tweets he posted on his account this week.

Magashule tried to quell the tension on Monday, following a meeting at the ANC KZN’s headquarters in Durban with disgruntled members of the MKMVA in the province, saying the party would engage with Mbalula.

"Members of the ANC, including Mbalula, if they have issues, we are pleading with them to raise matters internally. All of us must behave in that because that’s how the ANC works, we raise matters internally,” Magashule said.

“We will engage with comrade Mbalula, he is a member of the national working committee, so we will engage, I can’t engage him publicly.”

Magashule denied claims that he had employed Niehaus as his personal henchman at Luthuli House, saying it was the party that had employed Niehaus.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said that seeing senior members of the party taking each other on in public in the manner that Mbalula, Niehaus and Maphatsoe had done demonstrated a state of degeneration and mistrust within the party.

“Some of the things that you see members of the ANC sharing on Twitter, holding press conferences against each other, those are things that should actually be dealt with within ANC structures.

“We always get told about the extent to which the ANC is a fully engaging organisation, but at the end of the day you see members of the ANC doing these things and giving their various versions of the party,” Mathekga said.

Political Bureau

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