MK council leaders Siphiwe Nyanda, Thabang Makwetla and Gregory Nthatisi brief media in Johannesburg. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA
Johannesburg – The African National Congress's Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) national council is boycotting the party's upcoming national conference, labelling it a "futile exercise" and a distraction in efforts to save the deeply divided governing party.

Chairperson of the council Siphiwe Nyanda reiterated that only a special consultative conference would save Africa's oldest liberation movement.

"Appeals for a consultative conference from other structures such as the ANC veterans went unheeded by the leadership...they just want to hear what the MK and veterans have to say about the troubles in the ANC and that's it...that would be a waste of time," Nyanda told reporters in Johannesburg.

"We think that would be a fruitless exercise if such a conference takes place but does not have a status of a conference that takes decisions...that is why we are saying no to the national policy conference."

The call by the MK council and party stalwarts for a consultative conference, separate from the upcoming policy conference, has so far failed to yield positive support from the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House.

The more than 100 veterans' proposal for the conference to be held in March has failed, after the ANC national executive committee took a decision that the consultative conference take place two days before the policy conference and that the two be linked.

The veterans wanted an urgent consultative conference in response to infighting within the party, and said that the ANC's deepening crisis, attributed to corruption and factionalism, required urgent attention.

Nyanda said the MK would soon announce its action plan "to save the ANC".