The ANC may be set for another legal battle after the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) threatened the party’s top officials with legal action.
The MKMVA allegedly made this threat during a meeting on 17 June with the top six, an ANC insider said.
The MKMVA told the officials that the party’s treatment of the former combatants could lead to unrest in some parts of the country, according to the source.
MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe said the association would consider taking the ANC to court if the party does not agree to its demands regarding disbandment.
He said he hoped an amicable solution would be found, adding that there was a “hard line by the officials on the matter”. The MKMVA leaders were waiting to have a meeting with the officials before making a decision on its next step.
At the 2017 Nasrec elective conference the ANC resolved that the MKMVA and the splinter group, the National Council (MKNC), should go into talks to form a united structure. Tony Yengeni, the head of the peace and stability subcommittee, was tasked with overseeing the process. Talks between the MKMVA and the MKNC fell apart, with the latter deciding to suspend negotiations. This led to the national executive committee (NEC) resolving after numerous negotiations that the structure should be suspended and a preparatory committee be formed.
The MKMVA has also been tainted by allegations that it co-opts people who are not former combatants as members to bolster numbers to remain influential. The MKNC was formed after Maphatsoe and his leadership collective was accused of misrepresenting their interests and co-opting a much younger membership, who had no struggle credentials, into the MKMVA.
Deep divisions between the MKNC and the MKMVA centre on the factional battles during Jacob Zuma’s term as president. The council wrote to the ANC asking that it annul the results of the 2017 Nasrec conference at which Maphatsoe was re-elected by more than 300 delegates, who were allegedly not bona fide MK members.
The M&G previously reported that the preparatory committee would take the MKMVA to its conference. The committee consists of Fabian “Zakes” Msimang, Keith Mokoape, Jackie Sedibe, Jenny Schreiner, Ntswaki Sixgashe, Lucy Ramasodi and Zolile Nqose.
Tensions between the MKMVA and the ANC officials accelerated after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced shortly after a NEC meeting in May that the MKMVA would be dissolved.
A meeting that was meant to communicate the NEC decision on disbandment to the MKMVA and the MKNC collapsed last week.
The MKMVA left the meeting accusing the top officials of factionalism. But at the Thursday meeting, the association submitted two names, who would form part of the preparatory committee.
The MKMVA has accused the party’s officials of disrespect, saying that they “would not bow to dictatorship”.
The former combatants have also refused the instruction by the NEC — the ANC’s highest decision-making body between conferences — to resign.
Members of the MKMVA in KwaZulu-Natal have taken to the streets to protest against its dissolution.
The South African Communist Party has also accused the MKMVA of being used to foster divisions in the ANC. This narrative was further bolstered when MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus, who works at the office of temporarily suspended secretary general Ace Magashule, penned a radical economic transformation (RET) manifesto, called Radical Economic Transformation: a Basic Document, with the subtitle: Unpacking RET in Alignment to the Freedom Charter.