African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that the top leadership of the party has partially played a role in the divisions that have resulted in two organisations representing uMkhonto weSizwe combatants.
“We cannot achieve lasting unity in the ANC if the former MK combatants of uMkhonto weSizwe also remain (divided). We want you to be united and we want you to work tirelessly to forge that unity. As the leadership of the ANC‚ we must accept that we have not taken up the challenge to unite the MK. In fact‚ if we are to be honest‚ we have also contributed to the divisions that exist today‚” said Ramaphosa.
His remarks on the second day of the two-day MK National Council and uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) inclusive conference come after months of the MK National Council led by former South African National Defence Force General Siphiwe Nyanda and the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association led by Kebby Maphatsoe being at loggerheads with each other.
Both organisations claim to represent the interests of the former MK soldiers but are yet to form a united front.
This week‚ Maphatsoe demanded that the MK Council immediately stop using the name of the MKMVA which they are “not entitled to use”.
Maphatsoe further threatened Nyanda’s organisation that they would take the necessary legal steps to interdict the MK National Council from using the name of MKMVA‚ or creating the false impression that they have any rights whatsoever to speak or act on behalf of MKMVA.
The MK Council was not part of the MKMVA June conference which President Jacob Zuma attended‚ after initially agreeing to participate and forge a united MK veterans’ organisation which saw Maphatsoe being elected president of MKMVA yet again.
Nyanda has previously accused the MKMVA of being divisive‚ charging that its conference was a means to sow further divisions within the ANC.
On Friday‚ 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 (Zuma) 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 weSizwe 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 much trumpeted importance of unity by many ANC leaders is just a smoke screen for factional agendas‚” said Nyanda.
Ramaphosa said this was the time for honesty and the truth must be told if the ANC seeks to unite the liberation movement.