Four senior members of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have announced their decision to boycott the organisation’s upcoming national conference this weekend citing concerns over factionalism.
MKMVA deputy chairperson Teenage Monama, general secretary Dumisani Nduli, deputy general secretary Tshidiso Paka and NEC member Ike Moroe have distanced themselves from what they believe is an “unconstitutional conference” to elect new leadership.
The gathering, which starts on Friday is being held despite the MKMVA reneging on an agreement it had reached with the MK Veterans National Council Steering Committee to hold a joint conference where a new leadership would be elected.
The senior members have distanced themselves from the organisation’s leader Kebby Maphatsoe and his decision to go ahead with the conference despite it only being representative of a faction within the MK and not the organisation in its entirety.
“We wish to disassociate ourselves with that gathering, and believe that many who share the wish and hope of the unity of MK military veterans and the ANC and its alliance do the same,” the group said in a statement.
“We must also strongly express our disappointment with the leadership of the ANC in allowing this conference to take place amidst this cloud of wrongdoing that can only serve to tarnish the name of our movement”.
The boycotting group said approximately 60% of the 700 delegates expected to attend tomorrow’s conference do not have bonafide credentials as MK veterans.
The MKMVA has been known to be vocal in its defence of president Jacob Zuma and has also been accused of being used in his factional battles. In April 700 MK veterans were bussed in from parts of the country to protect Zuma from anti-Zuma marches that were taking place in Johannesburg.
It is believed that the decision to hold a unilateral conference without the MK Council is a deliberate attempt to ensure that leaders sympathetic to Zuma’s faction are elected to top positions.
This week the MK Council held its own briefing where it called on MK veterans to boycott the divisive conference organised by the MKMVA.
With president Jacob Zuma expected to address the gathering tomorrow, calls have been extended to the ANC to intervene and stop tomorrow’s conference for the sake of the MK’s unity.
“We still believe that the process is still viable, should the ANC leadership, even at this late hour, make an intervention which favours not any one faction or grouping, but the interest of unity in the movement and its allied formations,” the group said in its statement.