Lawyers representing uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans (MKMVA) have written to the African National Congress (ANC), demanding that the outcomes of the veterans inclusive conference be nullified, or face court action.
The conference held last month in East London, Eastern Cape was meant to bring together the two opposing sides of the ANC military veterans – the MKMVA and the MK National Council.
The two organisations were disbanded by the mother body last year to pave the way for the inclusive conference to unite the veterans.
The conference, under the unity name MK War Liberation Veterans, reportedly got off to a shaky start at the East London International Convention Centre (ICC). The delegates didn’t elect new leaders, but declared to work towards uniting the former combatants and the renewal of the governing party.
The late Kebby Maphatsoe, a former deputy minister of defence, led the MKMVA that is widely seen as a mouthpiece for former president Jacob Zuma. Under his political direction, the MKMVA became an integral component of the ANC and even held its own elective conference.
However, a military credentials verification process held ahead of the East London conference found that thousands of military gear donning members, including Niehaus, never underwent combat training under the former ANC military wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK).
According to a City Press report, MKMVA told ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile through attorneys Phosa Loots, that they have withdrawn officially from the East London conference that had been held and lodged a grievance.
“It is our instruction further that our clients do not recognise and acknowledge the outcomes and/or decisions taken by the ANC in the conference … Our clients further do not recognise and acknowledge the conference in its entirety for the aforementioned reasons,” read the letter from Andries Nkome of Phosa Loots Attorneys.
Nkome demanded an undertaking from Mashatile’s office to declare the conference and its decisions on the MKMVA be nullified.
Mashatile is running the secretary-general office after deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, who took over from suspended Ace Magashule, fell ill last year.
The MKMVA is adamant that it was never disbanded, and that it continues to exist across the country, guided by its constitution.
*Compiled by Getrude Makhafola.