The newly nominated uMkhonto we Sizwe Liberation War Veterans Interim Committee (MKLWVIC) has vowed that the days are over when military veterans' structures are used in fighting factional African National Congress (ANC) battles.
This was said by MKLWVIC Convenor Dan Hato on Sunday when the newly nominated unity leadership was presented to the media following a two-day engagement of all military veteran organisations at the Premier Hotel OR Tambo.
He told News24: "We are a structure that will assist in trying to correct some of the things that have been going wrong within our mother body, the ANC, no more shall we see members of uMkhonto weSizwe being used for factional tendencies."
The soft-spoken Hato added that in the future, ANC veterans would, "... henceforth be used to build cohesion within the county and be part of the social network that pursues the renewal of the ANC for the benefit of all citizens."
Joining Hato on the interim committee are: Nonkozo Molai as deputy convenor, Mmottonman Nkosi as co-ordinator, Nomfundiso Kulati as deputy co-ordinator, Lulamile Xate as treasurer, and Mbulelo Musi as the national political commissar.
In June, the National Working Committee of the ANC decided to disband the uMkhonto weSizwe National Council (MKNC) and the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and established a preparatory committee to oversee a unity conference that would bring all veterans' structures under one roof.
The various veterans' structure were caught up in factional ANC battles, with the MKMVA sending out contrary statements that challenged ANC national executive committee outcomes and taking a position that supported the radical economic transformation faction.
On the other hand, the MKNC appeared to take a stance that was pro-ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Cracking the whip after being appointed as convenor, Hato said such division would be placed aside, and the betterment of the lives of military veterans would be the main priority.
He was speaking after a two-day historic meeting of cross-generation members of the various uMkhonto we Sizwe structures that include uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), MK Council, MK detachments Luthuli, June 16, Isandlwana, the Young Lions, and others.
Having failed to elect a united leadership during the veterans' league's conference in East London in April, the veterans had something to celebrate on Sunday after the various structures nominated an interim unity leadership.
Hato admitted that the work of bringing together structures that have been at odds for years would not be easy.
"We have got no illusions that this is going to be an easy road. It's not going to be easy. We need to bring together people who have in the past belonged to two separate entities; we need to unite them.
"It is the task of this interim structure to engage with the comrades continuously. All that they intend to achieve is to have a better life because they have given their all to bring the new dispensation in this country without expecting any reimbursement," said Hato.
Chairperson of the ANC veterans and the party's ANC NEC subcommittee on peace and stability, David Mahlobo welcomed the nomination of the interim committee describing the undertaking as an historic feat.
He also clarified that the appointment of the interim structure meant that its leadership would be heading to the ANC national elective conference and partaking in the voting for national leadership.
Given the nominated interim committee members and the fact that those who were pushing for radical economic transformation faction chose not to partake in the nomination, Ramaphosa appears set to get the ANC veterans' league vote come the elective conference in December.
Mahlobo, however, acknowledged that he was aware that veterans who chose to stay away were considering legal actions and possibly collapsing the unity structure.
He added that he could not provide any further details regarding the matter.