With the ANC battling to contain factions within the party, a showdown is looming between Premier Sihle Zikalala and Mkhonto weSizwe (MK) ex-combatants over his “meddling” in MK matters in the Moses Mabhida region.The Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) regional leadership is seeing red over Zikalala’s meeting with “illegitimate” leaders of an MKMVA faction at his Parkside official residence in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.MKMVA regional leaders, who view Zikalala’s decision to meet the organisation’s parallel leadership structure as an attempt to dislodge the legitimate MKMA regional leadership from power, are demanding answers from the premier.“We have already written a letter to the premier requesting him to explain his decision to hold a meeting with people who have not been mandated to speak on behalf of the MKMVA in the region,” MKMVA regional secretary, Menzi Mkhize, said.This after the disgruntled MKMVA members, who had been staging sit-ins at the ANC regional offices in Hoosen Haffejee Street in Pietermaritzburg in recent days, had sidelined the MKMVA leadership by establishing a committee to deal with ex-combatants’ matters in the region. The committee of five, which includes Babsy Sithole, Sbu Mkhize and Thabo Ndlovu, handed over a memorandum of demands to Zikalala during Friday’s meeting.Apart from the dissolution of the current ANC regional task team (RTT), the committee is calling for MKMVA provincial and regional conferences where new leaders can be elected.Contacted for comment, Sithole said the decision to establish the committee was taken after the current MKMVA regional leadership had failed to champion the interests of ex-combatants in the region. “The view of soldiers on the ground is that there had been a lot of wrong things committed by the leadership. There has been a number of instances where economic benefits such as jobs and tenders were diverted to people who are not members of the MKMVA — they have been giving jobs and other opportunities meant for the soldiers to their friends and relatives. In any case the term of office of the current regional leadership expired a long time ago, meaning that we don’t have a legitimate MKMVA regional structure as things stand. That is why we are calling for a conference,” he said.However, Menzi Mkhize, who insisted that the current MKMVA leadership structure was legitimate, denied any wrongdoing. “If anyone claims that we gave jobs meant for MKMVA members to our friends and relatives then that person should bring forward the necessary proof.“In MKMVA people who have grievances against the leadership use proper channels — you don’t go and establish a parallel leadership structure,” he said.While Menzi Mkhize conceded that the term of the current MKMVA leadership structure has expired, he denied that the expiry had the effect of rendering the structure illegitimate.“Even our national leadership structure is in a similar situation. Beside, even if the term has expired there is nothing in our constitution that gives a member the power to establish the kind of committee which these people have established.“It is the provincial and national leadership that decide what should happen when the term of office of the regional leadership has expired,” he said.The committee is also calling for a halt to the removal of staff who had been working in offices of MECs who did not return to Zikalala’s cabinet.“I must say we had a fruitful meeting with the premier and he has promised to give us a response within the next few days,” Sithole said.Contacted for comment, the premier’s spokesperson, Bongani Tembe, said he was unable to comment as Zikalala had met the ex-combatants in his capacity as ANC provincial chairperson.ANC provincial spokesperson, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, said she would have to first verify the facts with Zikalala before issuing a statement.