Johannesburg - Members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) on Tuesday lashed at their president Kebby Maphatsoe, accusing him of ''somersaulting'' when he reneged on an agreement to hand in a letter denouncing African National Congress (ANC) new president, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Umkkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC) during the anti-apartheid struggle.
In the media alert issued on Monday, Maphatsoe distanced himself from the veterans' briefing. He said the gathering was not an official MKMVA briefing and that the organisation ''would not accept responsibility for the veracity and content of the media briefing''.
But on Tuesday, Rweqana claimed Maphatsoe, who is also Deputy Minister of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, had ''changed his tune''.
''We all wrote this letter together with Kebby Maphatsoe. Kebby was involved in crafting this letter from beginning to end ... he edited the letter. We agreed to hand in the letter before January 10 ahead of ANC national executive committee's first meeting ... we started differing with Kebby when he started somersaulting at the eleventh hour when the letter was supposed to be handed in,'' MKMVA executive committee member Nandi Rweqana told reporters in Johannesburg.
Another executive committee member Sibusiso Radebe said Maphatsoe was probably afraid of losing his Cabinet post after his preferred candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma lost to Ramaphosa in the hotly contested ANC leadership race in December.
''We all know that Kebby is on record that he did not support Ramaphosa before the elective conference, he said it himself before the conference that Ramaphosa does not qualify to lead the ANC ... it might be correct to suggest that he is doing this so he can keep his post. What is interesting is that he somersaulted after the results were announced at conference.''
Maphatsoe is a staunch supporter of beleaguered President Jacob Zuma. He was elected MKMVA president last year, with Zuma delivering the keynote speech.
Last year warring factions among the former MK soldiers and generals saw the MKMVA fail to carry out a pledge to unite and work with the MK national council, another structure led by former SA National Defence Force general Siphiwe Nyanda.
The two claim to represent the interests of the former MK soldiers, but are yet to form a united front. Nyanda and members of the MK council labeled the MKMVA as an illegitimate structure formed to sow further divisions within the ANC.
African News Agency/ANA