Moffet Mofokeng

A FACTION OF MK veterans has come out in support of erstwhile prosecutions chief Vusi Pikoli after he was forced out of an auditing firm because of political pressure from the ruling party.

Obbey Mabena, a member of the so- called commissariat of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, said Pikoli was “pushed out” of his job at the auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo because he challenged the ANC.

“Vusi Pikoli was pushed out for sticking to principle.

“For that, the powers-that-be applied pressure on his colleagues to get rid of him. Anybody who dares (to challenge) the ANC will be punished and there are many examples of that,” Mabena said without elaborating.

Mabena was speaking at a two-day meeting of the commissariat, held at Shaft 17 Conference Centre at Nasrec, south of Joburg.

Interestingly, Shaft 17 gained prominence five years ago when it emerged that ANC national executive committee member Siphiwe Nyanda allegedly held a meeting at the same venue with ambassadors of several African countries to drum up support for President Jacob Zuma, who was at the time facing stiff opposition from his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.

Pikoli, who attended yesterday’s session, is a former commander of MK, according to Mabena. The commissariat has been at war with the MK veterans association and the ANC over missing funds.

The group has accused top MK veteran leaders – among them chairman Kebby Maphatsoe – of embezzling funds earmarked to improve the lives of military veterans.

Maphatsoe said of the commissariat: “Don’t worry about those ones. They are renegades,” he said.

The allegations came to light after the auditing firm conducted a forensic report into the affairs of the veterans association. A draft forensic report, which was handed out to the delegates at yesterday’s meeting, alleged that the association’s leaders turned the association’s investment holdings into their personal bank, using funds to pay for jewellery, spa treatments and school drama lessons. Huge sums of money were also withdrawn before Christmas.

The draft report named former association leaders as responsible for the missing funds.

It claimed that the group helped themselves to R5.4 million, almost half of all the money coming into two accounts that the auditors scrutinised.

It also says they “maintained other interest(s) as a result of their involvement with uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association”.

The association has come out in support of Zuma prior to the ANC elective conference in Mangaung in December.

However, Mabena said yesterday the commissariat would not support anyone in the raging succession battle.

“We do not belong to a faction. We are not members of members in the organisation. Calling a leader to order is not counter-revolutionary.

“We are not for the chair of the ANC, the deputy or even the president. We are not here because of Mangaung,” he said.

The commissariat penned a document last year calling for Zuma to defer the Mangaung conference and turn it into a consultative conference to resolve the crisis in the party.

Alex Mashinini, another member of the commissariat, said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe allegedly told members of the commissariat at a meeting in July last year that the “ANC was sick and tired of babysitting (the veterans)”.

Yesterday, Thabo Masebe, spokesman for Motlanthe, confirmed that the deputy president attended the meeting but could not disclose what was discussed.