The Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has accused Gauteng African National Congress (ANC) chair Paul Mashatile and other current leaders of the party who engage and speak at events hosted by former senior leaders of the liberation army, as being divisive.
The comments come after Mashatile delivered an impactful address about the state of the party at the former generals and commissars [known as the MK Council]’s national assembly on Saturday.
Mashatile said the ANC needed to reclaim the moral high ground and its position of being the government of the people. He told hundreds of former combatants that the party needed to fight the demon of factionalism and slate politics.
His address at the MK national assembly was not appreciated by the MKMVA.
“We were surprised that Paul Mashatile addressed the MK council yesterday when he knows the national leadership of the MKMVA,” Kebby Maphatsoe said on Sunday.
He added that ANC leaders that addressed parallel structures were undermining the association and further dividing the ANC.
“We want to call upon them to refrain from undermining the MKMVA, we are not afraid of them but we want to warn them that they must respect the constitution of the MKMVA,” said Maphatsoe who continuously reiterated that he, as the chair of the association, was recognised by the ANC, unlike other structures.
The MKMVA National Executive Committee resolved that former combatants, including those in the MK Council, needed to participate in the association through structures, urging the likes of former MK Chief of Staff General Sphiwe Nyanda and one of Maphatsoe’s own former commissars Gregory Nthatisi to join regional structures of the MKMVA.
“We are not going to chase comrades away, we are striving for unity and will go and persuade all members to come back to the structures to participate in the regions. Some of them are very good leaders, some of them betrayed us and we respect them and will continue respecting them,” said Maphatsoe.
He said the development of a parallel structure ahead of the MKMVA's 6th elective conference from 8 – 11 June was not surprising as it had also happened leading up to the 5th congress in 2012. He said the only thing the two had in common was that they were both concerned about the welfare of veterans.
"Not to say we will be blowing our own horn but we will deliver a report at the conference and you will be able to see what the MKMVA has been doing," said Maphatsoe.
He said the association agreed with some of the resolutions adopted by the MK Council at its inaugural assembly in December 2016 and that those would form part of discussions during the conference.