MKMVA head Kebby Maphatsoe has died

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Kebby Maphatsoe, a former deputy minister and head of the now-disbanded MKMVA,  has died.
Kebby Maphatsoe, a former deputy minister and head of the now-disbanded MKMVA, has died.
Jabu Kumalo
  • Kebby Maphatsoe, the former president of the now disbanded MKMVA, has died. 
  • The ANC and the disbanded MKMVA have both confirmed his passing. 
  • Maphatsoe previously served as the deputy minister of defence and military veterans.

Former deputy minister of defence and military veterans, and head of the now-disbanded Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA), Kebby Maphatsoe, has died, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed on Tuesday.

He served as deputy minister between 2014 and 2019 and was a member of the ANC NEC until December 2017. 

Maphatsoe was known for his support of Jacob Zuma and led a group of ANC military veterans who remained loyal to the former president.

READ | ANC confirms disbandment of MKMVA

Early in July, the ANC confirmed that it had disbanded the MKMVA as part of the cleaning up its structures. 

Under Maphatsoe, the MKMVA was at loggerheads with another group of ex-combatants, the MK Council, led by party leaders loyal to President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The ANC said it would issue a statement on Maphatsoe's passing.

Maphatsoe's brother, Joseph, confirmed the death on Tuesday afternoon at his home in Meyersdal, near Alberton. 

Maphatsoe's close ally, suspended ANC member and MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus, also confirmed Maphatsoe's death: "I can confirm that he passed earlier today. We cannot say anything on the cause of death, as we are still talking to the family."

In a media statement, Niehaus said the disbanded MKMVA was "shattered to announce that the president of the MKMVA, comrade Kebby Maphatsoe, has passed on". 

Suspended MKMVA Spokesperson Carl Niehaus, Photo: Jabu Kumalo, Daily Sun

He went on to say that Maphatsoe "dedicated his whole adult life to the liberation struggle, both as a member of the ANC and MKMVA".

"With the tragic, and untimely, passing on of president, comrade, Kebby Maphatsoe, the whole ANC, and the community of MK veterans, have lost one of our most dedicated members and liberation soldiers.

"President Maphatsoe was instrumental in the formation of MKMVA, and led it with dedication and distinction. Comrade Maphatsoe played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) and the South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA).

"During the period that he was Deputy Minister of Defence, he worked with dedication for the cause of the improvement of the plight of military veterans, and specifically MK military veterans. He leaves a deep void, and a great legacy," read Niehaus' statement. 

He also offered his "heartfelt condolences... to comrade Kebby Maphatsoe's wife, Lerato, their children, and the whole family". 

Niehaus also added: 

"All of us in the ANC and in MKMVA lost a dear friend, comrade, and true liberation fighter."

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who had a rocky relationship with Maphatsoe, offered his condolences on Twitter, saying the ANC caucus had lost yet another committed Member of Parliament. 

According to government records, the late Maphatsoe was a trained political soldier of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and also went to Angola and the Soviet Union to receive more training. 

He was a former member of the Congress of South African Students, Soweto Youth Congress and the South African Youth Congress.

Under his political direction, MKMVA became an integral component of the ANC.

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