The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association’s (MKMVA) national executive committee (NEC) has resolved on making itself the peacemaker and unifier in the ANC-led movement.
This emerged at a media briefing the NEC held on Sunday following a three-day meeting.
It deliberated on a series of events which have taken place since December 2016 and have affected both the armed wing of the liberation movement and the African National Congress (ANC) at large.
MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe told journalists that they wanted a non-contested conference when the ANC goes for its 54th national conference in December.
Several leaders in the ANC have spoken about the challenges the party is facing due to bitter factional wars as party members pick sides of who they want to see take over the leadership of the ANC when President Jacob Zuma steps down.
“There should be a consensus amongst ourselves,” said Maphatsoe.
The NEC strongly urged for the unity of the MKMVA, to enable it to play a decisive role in uniting and strengthening the ANC and its alliance components, he continued.
The MKMVA, which is set to host its own conference on May 25, said it had also discussed the resolutions adopted by former generals and commissars of the MK.
Former combatants include Siphiwe Nyanda, Thabang Makwetla, Gregory Nthatisi, Bheki Cele and Tony Yengeni.
Maphatsoe said the MKMVA adopted the engagements with the MK council if the grouping recognised the MKMVA as a legitimate constitutional structure, a comment which left some in Maphatsoe’s own association upset.
“He is talking right and walking left,” said one national office bearer.
'Let's close ranks'
The MKMVA and the MK council, who are due to meet on Monday, had previously held a media briefing in a show of unity to announce that the two would be working together towards one unified conference.
The council made of former senior leaders in the MK are attempting to intervene in happenings in the ruling party, having claimed that they are worried about the downward trajectory the ANC is moving in.
The former combatants had also raised concerned that the MKMVA was being used for factional battles in the ANC, an assertion Maphatsoe denied.
“The MKMVA has not been at the centre of factions in the ANC, it’s just that we are not holy cows,” he said.
"We are not cowards. To raise issues, raw as they are and some people think we are factional.
“The NEC strongly urged that the agreed upon interventions must be strengthened such that they do not flout the constitution of the MKMVA,” said Maphatsoe.
He further explained that according to the association’s constitution the NEC will also be in charge of the establishment of sub-committees for the conference.
“These include logistics, constitutional amendment committees, disciplinary committees, and documents, they will all be led by NEC members of the MKMVA,” said Maphatsoe.
It must be clear that it’s the NEC that prepares the conference, he added.
When asked about the role of the MK council and if it should assist with the conference, Maphatsoe said the majority of the resolutions raised by his former leaders were about the welfare of military veterans.
“That’s why we said lets close ranks, so that the challenges faced by military veterans we address them as a unit, united."
There is a clear resolution from the NEC that the conference of the national conference is organised by the NEC of the MKMVA, said Maphatsoe.
“We are not going to flout our constitution,” he said.