Divisions emerge, despite MK veterans' attempts at unity

2017-02-06 18:08
General Siphiwe Nyanda. (Tebogo Letsie)

General Siphiwe Nyanda. (Tebogo Letsie)

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Johannesburg - An attempt by the ANC's uMkhonto weSizwe National Council and the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) to put up a united front crumbled on Monday when their media conference was dramatically disrupted, twice.

Both structures had claimed unity on Monday before the start of their first combined conference following a meeting in January.

The joint briefing was disrupted twice by former combatants who took issue with the former generals' and commissars' attempts to intervene in the current leadership of the association.

Former SA National Defence Force chief Siphiwe Nyanda explained that he knew the first combatant and said he was surprised by the issues Keith Sogovu had raised, as they had often seen each other and Sogovu had never raised any of them.

A disgruntled Sogovu was dragged out of the briefing by officials at the request of Thabang Makwetla, a member of the council's steering committee.

But Nyanda refused to share his thoughts on the second disruption and said it was easy to figure out what had transpired.

Joint briefing an MKMVA idea

"You are adults and you can see for yourself what is happening. You can make deductions of what's happening," said Nyanda.

"We came to it, with no hidden agenda, just to inform the media about the things we agree upon and we would not do anything to detract from that," continued Nyanda.

The former general said the joint briefing was held at the insistence of the MKMVA leadership, not the council's.

The MK council, at its first gathering in December 2016, raised concerns over the state of the ANC and the veterans' association. These included the association's involvement in factions and lack of focus on the welfare of former members.

MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe said the organisation agreed with resolutions made by the council at its gathering in 2016.

"Together, moving forward, we are going to change the lives of our comrades," he said.

'Found each other'

He insisted that the two structures would be able to achieve unity.

"Rest assured, when we go to the conference we will be one," added Maphatsoe.

The MKMVA chairperson said he would find out what had led to two members of the association expressing their grievances at a live media briefing.

The two structures have also agreed to propose holding the MKMVA national conference before the ANC's policy conference.

"We have found each other," said Maphatsoe who added that this meant working together toward both the MKMVA conference and making effective contributions at the policy conference.

The MKMVA said it would take the request of a combined and early conference to the party's national executive committee for approval.

Read more on:    anc  |  mkmva  |  siphiwe nyanda  |  politics

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