Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) in Gauteng has vowed to continue with its march to ANC headquarters at Luthuli House, despite the objection by other military veterans linked to the Umkhonto we Sizwe national council.

On Sunday MKMVA national spokesperson Carl Niehaus said the march by their provincial structure in Gauteng would go ahead as planned.

This came after MK’s national council issued placards calling on their members not to march to Luthuli House on Monday.

Niehaus said they were fully behind the march.

“The national leadership of MKMVA can also confirm that the office of the secretary-general was on June28 informed by formal letter from the Gauteng MKMVA provincial secretary, comrade Solly Matebesi, of this planned peaceful MKMVA Gauteng provincial march, with the intention to hand over a memorandum calling for the implementation of the resolutions of the 54th national conference of the ANC, specifically referring to all the ANC’s resolutions regarding MKMVA, and the overall plight of ex-MK combatants,” Niehaus said.

He said the MKMVA’s national executive committee (NEC) had been working since their election at their national conference to address the ­serious socio-economic plight of veterans.

“Our numerous media statements, the minutes of our NEC meetings, as well as our overall daily work, testify to our unwavering commitment to serve our members through making sure that they can indeed access, and benefit from, the rights and privileges that they as ex-combatants and military veterans are entitled to.

“A central component of these efforts is our ongoing engagement with the Department of Military Veterans about administrative problems that hamper the delivery of services to our members.

“We are registering good progress, but as a responsible association we are not at liberty to make public our engagements with the acting Director-General, Lieutenant-General (Rtd) DM Mgwebi, and his senior managerial staff,” Niehaus said.

He said it was the democratic and constitutionally enshrined right of members to peacefully demonstrate and express their views, including to peacefully march to Luthuli House, where the MKMVA national office is housed on the seventh floor.

“It’s disingenuous, and a deliberately contrived, blatant lie, to say that the march of MKMVA Gauteng province is a demonstration/march against ourselves. Obviously the march is in support of the efforts of the MKMVA NEC, as well as the efforts of our mother body, the ANC, to implement the resolutions of the ANC’s 54th national conference, with specific reference to the resolution that unity must be brought to the ranks of ex-MK combatants.

“In this regard, the leadership of MKMVA has been engaged in a disciplined process with the ANC NEC, though the Peace and Stability NEC sub-committee that the ANC NEC designated to handle the matter, in a genuine effort to bring about the desired unity,” Niehaus said.

Political Bureau