The ANC national working committee (NWC) has confirmed the disbandment of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and has thrown its support behind a process of amalgamating it with the rival MK National Council (MKNC).
The NWC wants efforts to hold a unity conference of both structures, which are split along factional lines, to be stepped up and confirmed the members of the team of military veterans and retired generals who had been suggested by the party’s top officials to oversee the process.
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte announced the decision on Tuesday 8 June at a media briefing about the outcome of the previous day’s NWC meeting, at which she called on members of both structures to “conduct themselves with discipline” and to implement the decisions of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) and NWC.
She said the party officials would meet with both structures “as soon as possible’’ to take the unity process forward.
Duarte said the NWC — which had condemned attacks on her for implementing its decisions — had been “unambiguous” in its support for the provisions of the constitution, which stated that the South African National Defence Force was the “only lawful military force in the Republic.”
The MKVMA has been mobilised by its leadership in support of former president Jacob Zuma — holding a vigil outside his Nkandla home in response to rumours that he is to be arrested for contempt of court — and in defence of suspended secretary general Ace Magashule.
This had sparked the decision to disband the structure, along with rival MKNC, which had been mobilised in support of President Cyril Rampahosa’s faction in the ANC.
She said the NWC urged the government to expedite the process led by Deputy President David Mabuza to ensure that the military veterans’ economic situation was addressed and that they accessed state benefits.
At the same media briefing, Duarte also said the NWC had welcomed the decision by Health Minister Zweli Mhize to subject himself to the party’s integrity commission over allegations of corruption in the R150-million Covid-19 communications contract awarded to Digital Vibes, a company linked to Tahera Mather, the spokesperson for Mkhize’s 2017 ANC presidential campaign.
The NWC had, she said, rejected any insinuation that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and other state agencies were being deployed against Ramaphosa’s rivals.
“Investigations by the SIU are initiated at the request of government departments, or other state institutions. They are formally proclaimed by the president once due legal processes have been followed,” Duarte said.
“The NWC welcomed the efforts by the ANC-led government to strengthen law enforcement agencies to allow for swifter identification and prosecution of corruption and fraud and the assurance that there will be no political interference whatsoever in the work of these agencies,” Duarte said.