The uMkontho we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) under the leadership of Kebby Maphatsoe says it will lodge a formal complaint against Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for attending a conference held by the MK National Council.
The two ANC leaders have been accused of using the divisions that have appeared within the MK to campaign for their presidential bids.
During a briefing at the ANC’s Johannesburg headquarters on Monday, the MKMVA’s National Working Committee (NWC) lashed out at Ramaphosa for addressing an “illegitimate conference” that he was warned not to attend.
Maphatsoe accused Ramaphosa of being factional and lying when he claimed to have attended the conference to forge unity within the MK.
“Comrade deputy president is a liar. It’s a collective decision this one. They [Ramaphosa and Sisulu] are dividing MKMVA,” Maphatsoe said.
“Of course we expect something to be done about them. Many comrades have been called to order. And our [ANC] constitution is very clear – that you don’t associate yourself with organisations that are against the leadership of the ANC”.
Last weekend the MK council, led by former MK Chief of Staff Siphiwe Nyanda and deputy Justice and Correctional Services minister Thabang Makwetla held a conference, which elected a new MKMVA leadership.
The grouping believed Maphatsoe’s leadership structure, which was elected at a separate MKMVA conference in June, to be illegitimate and unlawful and had written to the ANC to have it dissolved.
The weekend’s gathering saw MK members criticising Maphatsoe and accusing him of misusing the MKMVA to promote a factional agenda.
In retaliation, Maphatsoe’s deputy Taylor Mzimbeni accused Nyanda and Makwetla of being the cause of many MK veterans’ economic struggles during their time as leaders in at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Defence.
“The amazing thing is that the people who [claim to] have the interests of our MKMVA members today are the ones who caused us to establish the MKMVA [to fight for the rights of veterans]. Some of our members were dismissed unfairly in the defence force” Mzimbeni said.
The ANC is yet to decide which structure it will recognise as legitimate, with the MK council grouping threatening to go to court if Maphatsoe’s structure is not dissolved.
Maphatsoe said he and his executive will not go to court and would accept a decision to disband the structure if the ANC so wishes.
The two groupings are driven by a common cause, which is the welfare, especially economic, of former combatants. However the differences between them are believed to be caused by factional divisions within the party.
The MKMVA under Maphastoe has been a big defender of President Jacob Zuma and has endorsed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become president.