/ 2 October 2007

MK veterans wait on voting-rights status

There was still no word on whether Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) veterans would get voting rights at the upcoming African National Congress (ANC) national conference, the MK Military Veterans’ Association (MKVA) said on Tuesday.

”We are trying to get representation at the conference … the conference should decide if we’re getting voting rights,” said newly elected MKVA president Kebby Maphatsoe.

Maphatsoe was speaking following the MKVA’s three-day national conference at Chief Albert Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

He said a meeting with the ANC should be held to decide whether the association should be given voting rights.

The MKVA’s new leadership was elected during the conference, which was attended by 800 delegates.

Some of the resolutions adopted at the conference were the promotion of the interests of members, ensuring meaningful integration of the MKVA into the ANC, and ensuring effective participation of its members in political life, as well as strengthening the ANC and its ”revolutionary alliance”.

Referring to the issue of the succession debate, the association picked Jacob Zuma as its candidate for president.

General secretary Ayanda Dlodlo said five of the nine provinces had pronounced their wish for Jacob Zuma to become the next president.

”Five provinces have already announced their candidates while discussions are still going on in the other four provinces. It was unanimously decided that Jacob Zuma should be the next president,” said Dlodlo.

Dlodlo said a time frame had not been given to the rest of the provinces as to when they should make their decision.

The association said most of its members were also members of the ANC and that it was encouraging other comrades to join the ANC.

She stressed that the MKVA believed the new president should be both president of the country and the ANC. There should be ”no separation of power”.

Maphatsoe reiterated that the MKVA was not a military wing but a political arm of the ANC.

”We want to engage in politics as we understand politics; we believe we’ll be able to bring harmony,” said Maphatsoe.

The provinces that have expressed their wish for Jacob Zuma to be president are Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West. — Sapa