President Jacob Zuma Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma and uMkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) president, Kebby Maphatsoe, came under fire at the MK national council's conference held in Johannesburg on Friday, with speakers reiterating that the outcome of the MKMVA conference be nullified. 

Presenting the council's report, member of the steering committee Siphiwe Nyanda said after countless efforts to unite the former soldiers, it was clear that many African National Congress (ANC) leaders were not committed to unity within the governing party. 

He added that the MKMVA conference held in June was done fraudulently. 

"The much trumpeted importance of unity by many ANC leaders is just a smoke screen for self-serving factional agendas. Many ANC leaders are not interested in genuine unity...to some leaders, Kebby's continuous heading of the association serve their succession project at our December national conference," said Nyanda. 

"They support structures which they think will align with their factional interests...they are determined to preserve their hold on the levers of power and the ANC despite of the destructive effects on our organisation...so Kebby was assisted in trying to legitimise a fraudulent process and muzzled the department of defence and military veterans to fund that conference." 

The former soldiers have been patient with ANC leadership for far too long, he added. 

"We have been led down too many times. We had hoped the conference would take place in January, then it was February, then it was June, August and September. It has come to a point where people are even questioning our resolve...we just refuse to be marginalised and ignored. We are veterans of MK and we will be recognised as such...it is our right, our heritage and we must claim it back." 

Nyanda said the has come out of the policy conference that was merged with a two day consultative conference worse than before. The party was deteriorating at all government levels where divisions have manifested themselves into open conflict and killing of individuals. 

He said there were indications that the crisis could be used to collapse the December conference. 

"The reality is that the centre cannot hold as the body count rises. There is a serious foreboding on this and whether all this crisis created is a strategy to collapse that national conference so as to continue with the wrong doing." 

ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang presented a political overview accompanied by slides criticising Zuma's leadership and scandals that have dodged him over their years. 

He said the 2019 election outcome does not favour the ANC mainly because of what is happening in the party and in government presently. He charged at the current leadership, adding that that is what the ANC got after choosing leaders without their abilities to lead with integrity. 

"There is a comrade called Mathabatha, he spends his life agonising over how the organisation's present leadership.The current method of electing our leaders has the consequences that we see today. It is prone to manipulation, promotion of factionalism and lends itself to the formation of voting slates...this results in selection of disproportionate number of persons who are totally not fit to lead," he said. 

"The current leadership of ANC has lost the confidence of most South Africans. It is severely compromised by the flawed manner in which we elect leaders, it is compromised by corruption and has lost its moral authority...but there are good apples within the rotten ones, there are comrades who are quite and fighting from withing the movement.'' 

He turned to the MKMVA, criticising Maphatsoe and poked fun at his loss of his arm. 

"We have this MKMVA leader who calls the Guptas revolutionaries. How do you become part of an armed struggle and lose an arm? Why would this kind of person be selected do this job while there are many disciplined and good people to choose from? General Nyanda tells us his [Maphatsoe] was an illegitimate conference...but how can such a conference be graced by erstwhile leader of our country?" he asked. 

Msimang however urged the former soldiers ''not to jump ship'' and leave the ANC. 

Ensuring the survival of the ANC would be determined by the kind of action its members take now, or they could face losing power in the 2019 general elections, he added.