Zuma ‘dividing MK veterans’

President Jacob Zuma
Picture: © Sumaya Hisham / Reuters / REUTERS

Former South African National Defence Force head Siphiwe Nyanda has labelled ANC president Jacob Zuma a faction leader who is dividing former uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) combatants.

Speaking on the first day of the inclusive MK National Council and uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) conference at Nasrec‚ Johannesburg‚ yesterday‚ Nyanda accused Zuma of adding fuel to the fire by choosing which conferences to attend.

“We are also disappointed that the president of the ANC also attended the bogus conference when all along he had sought to have us believe that he supported our effort to unify the community of uMkhonto we Sizwe veterans.

“We had invited him to all our assemblies and to many it was a confirmation that the views that are widely heard that the muchtrumpeted importance of unity by many ANC leaders is just a smoke screen for factional agendas‚” Nyanda said.

His remarks follow Zuma delivering a key note address at the MKMVA’s congress that was held in June at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.

Nyanda and other disgruntled combatants accused MKMVA head‚ Kebby Maphatsoe‚ of holding the conference without the approval of the ANC’s highest decisionmaking body between conferences‚ the national executive committee.

Maphatsoe‚ a staunch supporter of Zuma and presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma‚ was re-elected as MKMVA’s president at the June conference.

However‚ the MK National Council was not part of the conference after initially agreeing to participate. They later cried foul over the legitimacy of the MKMVA delegates and its leadership.

Both MKMVA and the MK National Council claim to represent the interest of former MK soldiers‚ but do not form a united front.

Those expected to address the conference today include ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa- Nqakula. ANC presidential candidate Lindiwe Sisulu will close the conference.

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