All systems go for first MK national council

Tony Yengeni (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Tony Yengeni (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Johannesburg – Organisers of Umkhonto We Sizwe’s (MK) national council meeting on Saturday say all is in place for it to discuss the state of the ANC and how to restore unity in the party.

There had been an avalanche of interest in the event from MK-trained people, former combatant Tony Yengeni told News24 on Friday.

Initially between 500 and 600 veterans had been expected to attend, but interest grew. It will be held at Nasrec, in Soweto.

Accommodation, transport, and security arrangements had been made.

Former MK chief of staff and commander of the South African National Defence Force, Siphiwe Nyanda, was expected to deliver a political report.

The council would discuss problems facing the ANC.

Serious problems

Several ANC leaders had admitted, following the party’s dismal performance in the August 3 local government elections, that it was facing serious problems. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and President Jacob Zuma had both acknowledged that the ANC was weaker than it had ever been.

“We are more than positive that the MK national council will be a resounding success and that the outcomes will clearly contribute to uniting and strengthening the ANC,” said Yengeni.

“We need to see what it is we can do, practically, to help salvage the situation and bring the ANC back to its original historical and political position.”

Last week, City Press reported that MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe had sent a letter to members of the association and former MK combatants, telling them not to attend the council.

On Thursday, MKMVA treasurer general Des van Rooyen criticised the council meeting and said it was being held outside official structures.

“There is only one MKMVA recognised by the ANC, officiated and established under the leadership of the ANC,” he told guests at a gala dinner to mark the 55th anniversary of the ANC’s armed wing.

Yengeni appealed to MK members to attend the council, and not to let themselves be distracted by “any letter or by any person whatsoever”.

Zuma had given them his blessing to go ahead with the event, Yengeni said.


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