The Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has called on those opposed to former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s redeployment to the electricity provider to stop criticising the move.
MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe has questioned the negative reaction to news that Molefe was headed back to his old post, especially from his comrades in the African National Congress (ANC).
“We as the MKMVA find it difficult to accept that ANC leaders can come out complaining when one African cadre is deployed to a very strategic position,” Maphatsoe said on Sunday.
He was speaking to journalists following a two day national executive committee meeting in Boksburg.
He said the association congratulated Molefe and wished him well.
News broke on Friday that Molefe would be returning to Eskom following a short stint as a Member of Parliament.
Molefe resigned from the power utility after being named in a damning report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into the undue influence of the Gupta family and its role in some state owned enterprises and in the making of key decisions by the President, which include the appointment of ministers.
He has said he wanted to clear his name.
Radical economic transformation
“When we talk about radical economic transformation we also talk about deploying tried and tested cadres to go and implement radical economic transformation," Maphatsoe said.
Maphatsoe said Molefe’s experience spoke volumes, and he thanked him for helping to bring load shedding to an end.
“When everybody said we would never recover from this disaster of load shedding he turned it around and today we are seated here - its winter, it’s been cold for the past days - and we have never experienced load shedding. It is because of the contributions of Brian Molefe,” said the MKMVA chair.
He said it was difficult to accept the position taken by some, even in the ANC, and called on them to stop condemning the move and to get behind Molefe.
The MKMVA NEC once again confirmed its support for former African Union commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over the reins when President Jacob Zuma steps down as the party’s president in December at the ANC’s national elective conference.
“We believe she would be suitable as [a] future president of the ANC. This would be in acknowledgement of the role she has played in the liberation struggle of the people of South Africa,” said Maphatsoe.
Defending the association’s decision, Maphatsoe said this was not a resolution as such, but a communication of where the MKMVA would stand on the issue of succession once the ANC opens the debate.
Some leaders in the association, including Maphatsoe, have often been spotted at Dlamini-Zuma's campaign stops.
He explained why “team NDZ”, as Dlamini Zuma’s campaign machinery has been dubbed, was perfect to play a unifying role in the party.
“Sometimes mothers are people who have good experience and think she will play that role of a mother figure especially in the MKMVA and... [with] the young people,” said Maphatsoe.
He said Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma’s deputy, will remain in that position until December when the ANC NEC’s tenure comes to an end.
“[There is] nothing wrong with him [Ramaphosa] contesting [for ANC leader],” said Maphatsoe.
He added that the association was open to talks, hinting that it was willing to listen to Ramaphosa’s election machinery, known as CR17, but that the MKMVA too would be talking around the succession debate.
“The ANC is about persuasion. The MKMVA is open to such talks and we will also go and talk to others,” said Maphatsoe.