Review ANC constitution to curb abuse of members and processes – MK veterans

Johannesburg – Former senior leaders of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) want a review of the party's constitution and a recommitment to South Africa's Constitution.

"There's an agreement that the organisation has weaknesses that must be overcome, those speak to practices which allow for the abuse of members and processes within the organisation," said MK veteran and correctional services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla.

The former leaders of the MK, as it is better known, held a media briefing on Monday following a national council which took place on Saturday in Johannesburg.

More than 2 000 former combatants, including Bheki Cele, Ronnie Kasrils, Lindiwe Sisulu, Jeff Radebe, Tony Yengeni and Joel Netshitenzhe, gathered under the leadership of former uMkhonto chief of staff Siphiwe Nyanda to discuss the current state of the ANC and ways to help the party overcome its challenges.

On Saturday Nyanda told those in attendance that many, including those in the ANC, had written the 104-year-old liberation movement's obituary.

The former MK seniors were reluctant to share their resolutions and recommendations with journalists. Nyanda said they would first take them to the ANC and President Jacob Zuma before sharing them with the public.

Party unity one of resolutions

"There is no doubt that the meeting will be acceded to," Nyanda said when asked if the group was confident that the ANC leaders would engage with them over their concerns.

Makwetla said discussions around the amendment of the party's constitution had to be taken seriously.

He said the council would look at ways the ANC constitution could be reviewed in order to close loopholes with the management of the organisation.

There is a strong appreciation that the ANC may benefit from the introduction of other bodies and structures within the constitution, he added.

The other resolutions include working towards uniting the party and that the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) should focus on the welfare of military veterans.

Nyanda added that they would fight against corruption in both government and the ANC. The former leaders also pledged to remain faithful to the South African Constitution.

Nyanda said the former combatants would participate in every conference held by the ANC in 2017, these included the MKMVA conference, the consultative conference as well as a veterans' league conference.

Stress within the organisation

The former combatants' call for a change in the management of the organisation is not new, the ANC Youth League made a similar call after the party lost three key metros during the 2016 municipal elections.

The league had said the party needed to transform itself and the way it handles issues. It has also suggested that the ANC would function better with a smaller national executive committee and an additional deputy secretary general in the top six leadership positions.

Makwetla said it was understandable that so many groupings had emerged calling for decisive action to address the crisis facing the party.

"Several initiatives taking place outside the structures of the ANC are becoming more common. It is an indication that there is stress within the organisation's community," he said.

Stress suggests the responsiveness of the leadership organs is not adequate, he continued.

Makwetla said he believed it was to be expected that when pressure builds up and there is no outlet provided for its release, it will be released through other means.

Nyanda said they were hoping to meet with the president in the early months of 2017.

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