‘MK commanders behind call for special ANC national congress aren’t leaders’

MKMVA treasurer, Des van Rooyen, commented on the commanders’ call for new leadership.

Des van Rooyen. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) says a collective of former commanders who have called for the African National Congress (ANC) to hold a special national congress to address in-fighting do not deserve to be called leaders of the movement.

The association's treasurer, Des van Rooyen, says the letter written to the ANC by the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) commanders is 'counter-revolutionary'.

In it, they call on the ruling party to take action to restore its standing in society and elect new leaders.

Van Rooyen says the MK commanders, including General Siphiwe Nyanda, should express their views from within the association.

"We are urging them… 'Come and earn your leadership within the structures of the ANC. Come and earn your leadership within [the] MK, so that you can get the necessary recognition.'"

He condemned the leaking of the letter to the media, saying it exposes their intention.

"The [information] going to the media is a counter revolutionary tendency that can't be condoned by the association or the ANC."

The commanders also raised concerns about the perceived Gupta influence, and have asked for clarity around the reshuffling of finance ministers by the president.

Meanwhile, MKMVA chair Kebby Maphatsoe says a memorandum signed by former MK commanders asking the ruling party to take action against State capture by the Guptas, must be ignored.

Last week, 25 former senior commanders of the military wing signed a petition, expressing their outrage at President Jacob Zuma's decision to remove Nhlanhla Nene.

Earlier this month, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas confirmed he was offered Nene's position by the Guptas.

Maphatsoe says the petition doesn't carry any weight.

"I don't think the ANC should give that letter seriousness. They should refer the letter to us and we will be able to respond to them. We have thousands of members who have called us and distanced themselves from that statement."

The association says a letter written by the commanders does not have any standing because it's not endorsed by the league.

Meanwhile, the ANC military veteran's league has also called on the Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela and Oliver and Adelaide Tambo foundations to show leadership instead of fanning the flames of regime change through open letters to the governing party.

The league further accuses the leaders of conniving with former MK commanders and billionaire Johann Rupert to oust Zuma.

As former MK chef and head of the MKMVA, Maphatsoe says the struggle stalwarts' foundations should know better.

"When senior people stand up to speak, you expect them to give leadership [and] not to fuel fires.

He says the league has identified a plot to oust Zuma, which has received support from within its own ranks.

"It started as just a small thing of the Guptas, Mcebisi Jonas, Vytjie Mentor; we were not surprised to see Ronald Lamola at the [NEC meeting] at St, Georges. It shows you clearly that there was a plan by those people, including Johann Rupert."

The association says it plans to meet with the commanders soon, to discuss their demands.