Maphatsoe hailed for cementing the MKMVA in modern day ANC politics

The MKMVA’s rise to prominence was largely linked to former President Jacob Zuma’s dominance and Maphatsoe was an avid supporter of Zuma until his final days.

FILE: Kebby Maphatsoe, uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association president. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The passing of African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament Kebby Maphatsoe has left many South Africans in shock.
It’s understood Maphatsoe died earlier on Tuesday in his Johannesburg home.

He became a member of Parliament in 2014 and was currently serving as a whip of the study group on sports, arts and culture.

He previously served in the portfolio committee on police and was a former deputy minister of defence and military veterans from 2014 to 2019.

Maphatsoe is credited with cementing the role of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) in modern day ANC politics, it is not a formally endorsed structure, but he made sure its voice was loud.

The MKMVA’s rise to prominence was largely linked to former President Jacob Zuma’s dominance and Maphatsoe was an avid supporter of Zuma until his final days.

He even warned of anarchy if Zuma was arrested for defying the Constitutional Court.

READ: ANC MKMVA leader Kebby Maphatsoe has passed away

While Maphatsoe lost the bid for MKMVA to be formally recognised in the ANC so it can have voting powers like the other leagues, he won the fight for the defence ministry to have the Department of Military Veterans, becoming its first deputy minister. He made sure it extended welfare benefits to military veterans.

MKMV spokesperson Carl Niehaus: “Maphatsoe dedicated his life to liberation of the country. He was a comrade; he served as a soldier and his contribution will be acknowledged.”

However, Maphatsoe was criticised for parading members deemed too young to have been involved in the struggle against apartheid as MK veterans and fuelling factional battles that have crippled the governing party.

He also had to apologise for calling former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela a CIA spy and to former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils for accusing him of sending Zuma’s rape accuser.

In his latest bout with the party, he was fighting the ANC’s decision to disband MKMVA.

Maphatsoe had resisted the party’s demands that it merges with another rival grouping, MK Council, also made up of MK members including former commanders. He had also recently hauled Fikile Mbalula to court, accusing him of defamation.

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