Letters to the editor: January 16 to 22 2015

I have written an open letter to the director general of the department of military veterans to state my disgust at its treatment of those veterans who are not in or from the ranks of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA).

The Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011 is but a formality because every military veterans’ association other than the MKMVA is not taken seriously.

I propose that the Act be renamed the MK Veterans Act because the said association is the only one taken seriously by the department. The number of former MKMVA ­members in the employ of the department, especially in senior positions, also proves this.

This situation comes as no surprise because it also applies in the department of defence, where the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) members are still being persecuted, ­marginalised and overlooked – especially with regard to promotions and placements in posts – because of their past.

It is telling that the MKMVA is the only association that has been afforded three medal parades in honour of their comrades, and many more events honouring their fallen heroes, funded by the department, as indicated at the recent military veterans’ research conference workshop, held in Unisa on November 27 and 28 2014.


That the rest of the associations were only assisted when it came to funerals of fallen comrades clearly indicates that the MKMVA is more equal than other associations.

The silly reason given by Vernon Jacobs, a director in the department, for the failure to assist in honouring Templeton Ntantala and Gasson Ndlovu (both Poqo [the armed wing of the Pan Africanist Congress] founder leaders) with tombstone unveiling ceremonies, which took place on December 13 2014 in the Eastern and Western Cape respectively, was that the two leaders were not on the department’s database.

Clearly, it is not the last time that Apla and other associations will be failed; this is largely owed to the fact that there are no former Apla ­members in the employ of the department – especially in the research unit of the department.

Clearly, there is a deliberate attempt not to honour the struggle leaders who were not from the ranks of Umkhonto weSizwe and one to marginalise the contributions of other struggle heroes.

One of Africa’s greatest revolutionaries, Amílcar Cabral, wrote: “Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories …”

Though disappointed I am not demoralised. Rather I am more determined than ever.

The consolation I have is that Africa never forgets and the

martyrs of freedom will be remembered and honoured and we will

tell their and our stories with

or without the department of

military veterans’ assistance. – Xola Tyamzashe, Azanian People’s Liberation Army Military Veterans’ Association

Why do we only honour MK vets?Truth: The writer thinks the ANC would do well to listen to Amílcar Cabral’s quote: “Tell no lies … claim no easy victories.” Photo: Documentos Amílcar Cabral

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Athi-Patra Ruga’s new exhibition: The stain at the end of rainbow

Athi-Patra Ruga’s latest exhibition, ‘Interior/Exterior/ Dramatis Personae’, takes his characters on transformative journeys

Xenophobia chips away at the African notion of ubuntu

The multifaceted and complex issues facing the continent can only be tackled effectively together

Ubuntu should be at the centre of our response to Covid-19

Demonstrations of common humanity are a powerful tool to help us navigate our way through the pandemic

Eusebius McKaiser: Certain views about Covid-19’s global trajectory are anti-poor and anti-human

This is no time to snigger at the high rates of coronavirus in the Global North. We could be just as hard hit — and it is poor people who will suffer the most

Mega lessons from mega-events

Expo 2020 Dubai has already engaged 30 000 volunteers from the city

The Pope’s message of unity and reconciliation

The Pope’s primary message to each country responded to their unique circumstances
Advertising

Jailed journalist a symbol of a disillusioned Zimbabwe

Hopewell Chin’ono backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he succeeded Robert Mugabe. Now he’s in jail

Sisulu axes another water board

Umgeni Water’s board in KwaZulu-Natal was appointed irregularly by her predecessor, the water and sanitation minister claims
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday