Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has welcomed efforts by Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) veterans to help bring stability and unity to the ANC, Tony Yengeni, ANC NEC member said on Friday.
Zuma felt it was important for them to discuss problems in the ANC and how to solve them, Yengeni, who is an MK veteran, told News24.
He said some of the leaders involved in planning the MK Military Veterans Association’s (MKMVA) national council on Saturday had briefed Zuma and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on the gathering.
The council meeting of former MK members would discuss the state of the MKMVA and the ANC and the welfare of former combatants.
“The president has been very clear that he supports the meeting,” said Yengeni.
The event would coincide with a weekend of activities planned by the MKMVA to mark 55 years since the establishment of the ANC’s armed wing.
On Thursday, Zuma failed to attend an MKMVA gala dinner, where he had been expected to speak to mark the anniversary. He would also not attend the council meeting. Yengeni said this was because he had prior engagements.
Some pundits had seen the event as a move to challenge MKMVA leader Kebby Maphatsoe’s hold on the organisation. The former combatants however said their intervention was not focused on an individual.
Maphatsoe has been criticised for using the association to fight factional battles in the ANC, instead of focusing on its members' needs.
“We are not going to discuss Kebby the person. This is a meeting to look at challenges facing the organisation and how former members can contribute to stabilising the organisation,” Yengeni said.
They would evaluate the MKMVA’s performance to see if it had fulfilled the role it should have in the lives of former combatants.
The council is set to take place in Nasrec, Soweto, from 09:00 on Saturday.