‘Do not take us lightly’ - MK Vets

2018-09-16 17:13
MK vets regional secretary Menzi Mkhize.

MK vets regional secretary Menzi Mkhize.

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 “Do not provoke us. We have military training and don’t want to get to a point where we resort to a coup.”

This is the strong warning from uMkhonto weSizwe ex-combatants to municipalities who have failed to meet the MK vets’ demands for tenders, jobs and housing.

In an interview with Weekend Witness, MK vets regional secretary Menzi Mkhize said they felt they were being pushed into a corner by the refusal of some councils to give them what they say is due to them. In the past two months, the MK vets have shut down five Midlands councils to demand jobs, tenders and housing, and have threatened to continue disrupting services if their demands are not met.

Mkhize said the MK vets were capable of executing a coup because of all the military training they received while in exile and warned they did not want the situation to get to that point. “I think former president Jacob Zuma wanted to avoid a coup when he established the Department of Military Veterans. He is a military veteran himself and he knows what kind of training we received and what we are capable of,” he said.

Mkhize said the department, established by Zuma in 2009, had failed to assist many military veterans who he said were living in poverty.

“If you can go to Aloe Ridge now where we invaded flats, some military veterans will tell you that they have gone days without eating. Most military veterans are surviving on hand outs.

“Our children are even asking us what we went to exile for if we cannot provide for our families. When we sing struggle songs while taking a shower, our children tell us to stop making a noise because they don’t know which country we fought for because we are dying poor,” he said.

Mkhize, who spent years in Uganda receiving military training after joining uMkhonto weSizwe in 1988, said they had high hopes when they finally came home after the 1994 elections, believing their lives would be better.

“Remember, we never received any salaries when we were in exile. There was no one looking after our families.

“When I came back in 1994 with other military veterans, we expected to receive money and housing. This was informed by experiences in other countries where there had been liberation struggles.

“Military veterans were given houses, money, some went to businesses and some were given jobs.

“In our case, we were never integrated properly back to society. They tried to integrate us into the SA National Defence Force but it never worked. We did not even receive counselling when we came back after going through such traumatic experiences, where some of our comrades died while executing some operations,” he said.

Mkhize said some of the Midlands councils that they had brought to a standstill recently — including Msunduzi, uMgungundlovu, Richmond and Umvoti — were now co-operating.

“We have a situation where municipalities such as uMshwathi have invited us to meet to prevent a situation where there would be a protest,” he said.

“Only Mooi-Mpofana Municipality is giving us a headache. We are hoping they will come to their senses and withdraw the court interdict they obtained against us as the organisation.

Department of Community Safety and Liaison spokesperson Mluleki Mtungwa said the department was not taking lightly all the threats posed by the group that was involved in disrupting services in the province.

“There is a sub-committee that has been established by the cabinet which will be led by MEC Mxolisi Kaunda. The sub-committee will be dealing with all the illegal activities, including the invading of projects by business forums. We take these issues very serious,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mkhonto wesizwe

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