Former combatants of the African National Congress's (ANC's) armed wing have asked the party's national executive committee (NEC) to consider nullifying the outcomes of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association's (MKMVA) June congress.
Former MK chief of staff Siphiwe Nyanda and former MKMVA secretary Dumisani Nduli have lodged an application with the party claiming that the 5th congress was held without permission from the party's executive committee.
The appeal, which was presented during the weekend's ANC NEC meeting, claimed the conference was held without permission and took exception to President Jacob Zuma making an appearance at the event.
This comes as the ANC grapples with some of its structures turning to the courts to resolve stalemates at provincial and regional conferences.
The NEC has spent several days meeting with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee in search of a way forward after the High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruled that an elective congress which saw Sihle Zikalala become chairperson of the province was illegitimate.
"There are two contradicting reports from NEC members. One is comrade Tito [Mboweni's], who did not attend the conference but is the one presenting the report," MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe told News24 on Tuesday.
'He is lying, that is not true'
Maphatsoe disputes claims made by Mboweni to the NEC that he met with both the MKMVA and members of the MK Council, which is led by Nyanda.
"I stood up and said he is lying we never had a meeting with the comrade. He is lying, that is not true. We never had a meeting with comrade Tito and his team," said Maphatsoe.
The MKMVA president said the NEC had decided to refer the matter to the ANC's national working committee, after which it would study the recommendations and make a decision.
However, a source told News24 that a meeting definitely took place in Maphatsoe's office at Luthuli House with Mboweni before the conference was held.
An MK council insider said not only did Maphatsoe not have permission to go ahead with his June conference but that President Jacob Zuma should not have attended or even delivered an address at the gathering.
"The issue is that comrades must understand when people speak of inclusivity... our conference is inclusive. In the MKMVA this means all detachments must be included," he said.
Call for recommendations
Maphatsoe said the MK Council wanted comrades to attend the conference as detachments but that that was unconstitutional and they instead had to have delegates represent them.
"Tito and Joel [Netshitenzhe] are dividing the MKMVA," said Maphatsoe.
He accused the two of failing to follow processes.
Both Mboweni and Netshitenzhe were deployed to the MKMVA congress as part of an NEC task team which also included ministers Ayanda Dlodlo, Fikile Mbalula, Gugile Nkwinti and Lindiwe Zulu.
Mboweni and Netshitenzhe did not pitch, while Dlodlo and Mbalula sent an apology for their absence and the latter two oversaw the entire conference.
Maphatsoe said the national working committee must now conduct due process and make recommendations for the NEC to decide o on the way forward.
When contacted for comment Mboweni referred News24 to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe's office.
"Call the SGO at Luthuli House, I am not authorised to issue media statements," said the former South African Reserve Bank governor.
When contacted for comment, Mantashe refused to discuss the MKMVA conference saying:"It's none of my business." He added that would not report on NEC discussions in the media.
Maphatsoe also said that his former secretary, Nduli, had signed the appeal alongside Nyanda discredited it.
"How can he appeal with the MK Council? He's now on the other side," asked Maphatsoe.
Nyanda defended his actions, claiming that Maphatsoe held the June conference against an agreement which had been reached with the council and approved by the ANC.
"He unilaterally repudiated that agreement, that's what we want annulled," Nyanda told News24.
Quoting the report presented by Mboweni, which had already been rejected by Maphatsoe, Nyanda said the report showed that the conference was divisive and not inclusive.
"That conference was not the one instructed by the NEC," he said.
Nyanda also said they would push ahead with their inclusive conference, in spite of a statement released by the MKMVA distancing itself from the event set to take place over the weekend.
"This so-called conference is neither official nor inclusive," said the MKMVA through a statement.