MK veterans insulted by food parcels

2010-11-15 19:13

Johannesburg - Military veterans expressed indignation on Monday over a recent food parcel distribution by the defence force to former liberation fighters, saying it contained expired goods.

"This was indeed an insult to the history of our struggle and that of the ANC for we are not street kids, neither are we a dumping bay where all secondary and expired commodities are recycled," Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) member Mthunzi Gumede said in a statement.

On November 8 the defence ministry and cellphone operator MTN donated food hampers to former liberation armies, which included the MKMVA and the Azanian People's Liberation Army.

"The ANC-led government, by implication, continues to undermine our historical role as the pillar of the South African revolution in which we constructively participated when it was not fashionable to do so," Gumede said.

The association's goal was to find a permanent solution for former freedom fighters to sustain themselves.

Positive feedback

Ntime Skhosana, spokesperson for the department's Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla, said the MKMVA's comments were "unfortunate".

"We find the reported remarks very unfortunate. If their statement is accurate, it's a very unusual way of engaging with our stakeholders through the media because we have channels through which we interact."

He said this was a nationwide programme that had been rolled out to four provinces thus far, targeting the most destitute military veterans.

"It was successful and will be concluded in all the nine provinces before the first week of December. We have never experienced such a response in any of the provinces we have been to.

"Even the beneficiaries involved in the KZN function reported back positively."

He said MTN's gesture needed to be commended and supported because it formed part of public partnerships to help people.

MTN spokesperson Pearl Majola was not immediately available to comment.

Against nepotism

Gumede said the organisation was "appreciative" of President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, as it replaced those who did not implement the mandate of their respective ministries.

The reshuffle saw seven ministers axed in October, and additional appointments of deputy ministers to some ministries.

The association said it was against nepotism and urged the African National Congress to listen to the people.

"We discourage the appointment of girlfriends/boyfriends, relatives and patronage in the appointment of the leaders of our people," said Gumede.

"The ANC is the only people’s organisation and it must listen to the people, for it was born of the people, otherwise what is the use of all these years of struggle if the ANC becomes something else."

It was also against "tendencies" seeking to destroy the alliance partners, the SA Communist Party and the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

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