Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
8 Jan 2022
12:00 pm

MKMVA members picket outside ANC birthday bash venue

Citizen Reporter

A group of MKMVA members say they remain poor while those who never fought for freedom are living large and ignoring their cries for help.

One of the protesters, identified as Irene Mabote, said she was there because the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) hasn't attended to their demands. Photo: Twitter/@niehaus_carl

As invited guests trickled into the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday, members of the disbanded uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) brandished placards, demanding to be heard by the ANC NEC.

The MKMVA was one of the two ANC formations consisting of former combatants. The other is the MK Council, and both were disbanded last year.

One of the protesters, identified as Irene Mabote, said she was there because the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) hasn’t attended to their demands.

ALSO READ: ‘We are still kicking alive’, says disbanded MKMVA

“People who didn’t fight for this [liberation] are driving big cars today… meanwhile we have nothing. We want the president to listen to us,” she told the SABC.

Fellow protester Jabulani Buthelezi said he was in his 60’s and was “part of the poorest of the poor”, despite giving up his youth to fight against the apartheid regime.

“Those who came before me are in their 70s and 80’s now, they are not here. We came here because really, our demands are not being met… we are disbanded and with no authority.

“We are the poorest of the poor, we have nothing.”

The MKMVA are known for their staunch support for the former president Jacob Zuma, and are part of the ANC’s Radical Economic Transformation faction, called the RET.

Both MK organisations were disbanded last year by the governing party in its efforts to unite warring former combatants.

At the time, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte remarked that the ANC “cannot have ANCYL members who are older than 40 and MK veterans who are younger than 35.”

ALSO READ: The glue of the ANC coming unstuck internally, says expert

Each claimed to be the home of former members of uMkhonto weSizwe, and further entrenched themselves and took sides in the ANC infighting.

Last year, MKMVA went for the jugular and held hostage Defence Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele during a scheduled meeting at the St. George’s Hotel in Pretoria.

They demanded millions in compensations and assistance in starting businesses.

Law enforcement stormed the venue to free the three cabinet members, and arrested 56 of the military vets.

So far, there has been no pronouncements by the ANC on the way forward for the former combatants.

Meanwhile, following the Friday night chaotic gala dinner that saw electricity being cut off while Ramaphosa was delivering his speech, Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters that someone interfered with the power supply.

“We are investigating that, and we believe we are on the right direction,” Cele said.

He echoed the statement of fellow NEC member Enoch Godongwana, who said someone tried to sabotage Ramaphosa’s address by tempering with the power supply inside the gala dinner venue.

NOW READ: Godongwana claims sabotage over power cut during Ramaphosa speech