MKMVA members line up outside Luthuli House ahead of anti-Zuma protests. Picture: Siphelele Dludla/ANA
Johannesburg – Divisions within the MK Veterans Associations (MKMVA) have emerged on the eve of its elective conference when four of its leaders announce that they would boycott the conference due to membership irregularities.

The four are MKMVA national executive committee (NEC) member Ike Moroe, its deputy chairperson Teenage Monama, general secretary Dumisani Nduli and his deputy Tshidiso Paka.

"As issues stand, we have it on good authority that about 60% of the more than 700 delegates that were registered yesterday [Wednesday] do not have ascertainable bona fides as MK military veterans. Given that a huge number of those veterans who have aligned themselves with the MK national council do not also have any form of representation in the forthcoming MKMVA conference, we hold that it would be incorrect for this conference to be viewed as a constitutional gathering of MKMVA with the powers to elect a new leadership," the four said in a joint statement on Thursday.

"Therefore we wish to disassociate ourselves with that gathering and believe that many who share the wish and hope of the unity of MK military veterans and the ANC and its alliance do the same."

The MKMVA conference is scheduled to start in Ekurhuleni on Friday and end on Sunday. President Jacob Zuma is expected to address the delegates on Friday.

MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday that it was all systems go for the conference.

Warring factions within former MK soldiers and generals saw the MKMVA renegade on its 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 this week labeled the MKMVA conference as a means to sow further divisions within the ANC.

The council also announced that it would not take part in the upcoming ANC policy conference after the party's top leadership snubbed their request for a consultative conference, separate from the policy conference.

Nyanda reiterated that, same as the call by African National Congress stalwarts, only a consultative conference would save Africa's oldest liberation movement plagued by infighting.

Nyanda added that the June policy conference was a "futile exercise" and a distraction in efforts to save the deeply divided governing party.

The ANC NEC took a decision that the consultative conference take place two days before the policy conference and that the two be linked, to the dismay of the MK council and the stalwarts.

The separate structure of the more than 100 stalwarts 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.

On Thursday, the four MKMVA leaders said the ANC should intervene and halt the "illegitimate conference".

"We strongly express our disappointment with the leadership of the ANC in allowing this conference to take place amidst this cloud of wrongdoing that can only serve to tarnish the name of our movement with an undesirable factional posture," they said.