Zuma face-off with Ramaphosa looms over MK veterans' conference

2017-10-15 06:00

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President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa will face off when the ANC top six sit down to consider an appeal to nullify the June conference of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA).

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told City Press this week that party officials were dealing with the appeal, brought by the MK council.

Last weekend, at a conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg, the council resolved to scrap the earlier Boksburg conference of the MKMVA.

Zuma was the keynote speaker at that conference in June, while Ramaphosa addressed last week’s MK council conference. Now they are expected to lead the reconciliation process.

The MKMVA – led by Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kebby Maphatsoe – wanted Ramaphosa and senior ANC leaders who attended the MK council conference to be disciplined.

Maphatsoe was elected president of the association at the June conference.

However, a Luthuli House insider close to Ramaphosa said it was factional to pretend that Zuma did not set a wrong precedent when he attended the June conference.

Ramaphosa told the MK council in his address last Saturday that he had never been factional in his life.

Zuma used the June conference to lambast the MK council for boycotting the event.

This week, Mantashe bemoaned divisions among former soldiers of the ANC’s defunct military wing. Last weekend’s conference added more complications, he said.

Mantashe said the appeal against the June conference was sent to the ANC’s national executive committee.

“The parallel conference complicates the process because we are busy dealing with an appeal where there is a dispute with the June conference,” he said, adding that ANC officials were dealing with the appeal with a view to reconciling the two groups.

The side recognised as the legitimate voice of former soldiers would have a significant say in setting the priorities of the R600m military veterans department’s budget.

The money is intended to be used to deliver benefits such as healthcare, housing and education to veterans and their dependents.

Military veterans are currently housed under the department of defence, but there is a strong lobby to provide veterans with their own department and ministry.

It was envisioned that military veterans would play a bigger role in the R40bn private security industry.

The government hopes to reduce foreign ownership in security companies.

There were also discussions about who provided security at national key points.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  cyril ramaphosa

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