Gauteng MK vets back Zuma

2012-10-09 16:24
Jacob Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

Jacob Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association's (MKMVA) Gauteng branches will back President Jacob Zuma for a second term, despite pronouncements by its provincial executive that it would remain neutral.

"In our engagement from branches, regional executive committee [REC] meetings... and interaction with other MKMVA regions within Gauteng we have unanimously agreed that we are fully behind comrade Jacob Zuma," Ekurhuleni MKMVA secretary Bafana Mahlale told reporters in Germiston on Tuesday.

"Our approach is that of unity, continuity and change, which we believe is the most scientific way to ensure a stable ANC."

He said the announcement by the MKMVA's provincial executive committee, made at the Gauteng African National Congress's provincial general council on Sunday, to be "neutral active", was disturbing.

The position was not backed by the branches.

"This is a very strange concept and it's not mandated by us as regions and therefore it's not an official position of the MKMVA in Gauteng," Mahlale said.

"As former combatants... we can never and will never be neutral in the life of the ANC."

The MKMVA branches' preferred candidate list retained Zuma as president, Kgalema Motlanthe as deputy president, Baleka Mbete as national chair, and Gwede Mantashe as secretary general.

Jessie Duarte was named for the position of deputy secretary general. Deputy Correctional Services Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was listed to replace treasurer Mathews Phosa.

Mahlale said the list was accepted by all the MKMVA's Gauteng regions. He said this position would be maintained at its national conference between October 11 and 14.

The branches also resolved to support current MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe for a second term. Mahlale said the regions had decided that Phosa had erred by coming out in support of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, despite the mandate that the NEC would accept the sanctions.

"We cannot have a situation where if the ANC processes are being done and followed... you have a member of the top six come out to defend the man that the ANC alleges to be in the wrong," he said.

"We believe that the behaviour of Julius Malema couldn't be what it was unless it was backed by certain individuals in the national leadership. It is a known fact that comrade Phosa is one of those people."

The regions supported the development at Zuma's Nkandla homestead, saying it was a normal thing for a president to do, and that recent media reports about it were a form of "character assassination".

"We believe that as ex-combatants that he [Zuma] is very much concerned about our welfare.

"This is a man who is very much accessible. He is not operating like a CEO in a political organisation... [he] is accessible to every grouping in the country to make sure that everybody is being taken care of."

Mahlale said the Nkandla development, which would reportedly cost taxpayers over R200m, was not a crisis.

"We do not support any extravagance in expenditure by government, especially to the residences of individuals. Here we are dealing with a principle which says it is part of government's programme to do infrastructure development.

"That it happens in Nkandla... should not be a crisis that people make a noise about."

Read more on:    anc  |  mkmva  |  baleka mbete  |  mathews phosa  |  jessie duarte  |  julius malema  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  johannesburg  |  mangaung 2012  |  politics

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