Blade Nzimande: Factionalism in uMkhonto weSizwe will not be tolerated

The SACP has laid claim to the ANC’s former military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), cautioning against factionalism.

Speaking at the 26th annual commemoration of struggle hero Joe Slovo, SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande said the party did not take kindly to the “name of MK being used for factionalist behaviour in the movement”.

“That is why we call upon the MKMVA [uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association) together with MK Council to merge to one organisation,” he added.

The disunity of the ANC’s former combatants has led to the party questioning its eligibility and role in the organisation.

This has further been exacerbated by claims of fraudulent membership.

The MK Council previously accused supporters of MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe of using fraudulent delegates during its previous elective conference.

The MKMVA has also been at the centre of factional battles in the ANC, with the structure going to bat for party secretary-general Ace Magashule who is seen to be at loggerheads with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Recently, Maphatsoe was summoned before the party’s Integrity Committee after he told News24 there could be a possible coup and civil unrest should former president Jacob Zuma be arrested.

Maphatsoe said Zuma was patron-in-chief of the MKMVA and members would not be happy to see him charged.

People, who are allegedly members of the military veterans’ body, have claimed responsibility for disruptive acts like xenophobic attacks in Durban and for setting alight trucks driven by foreign nationals.

Magashule previously called on the government to assist and support military veterans.

“If MK was factionalist, we would not be here today. None of the names can be used to pursue narrow factionalist agendas. In memory of Slovo, we cannot allow this. MK was never factionalists and therefore MKMVA cannot act in a manner,” Nzimande said.

He added the role of the SACP in the formation of the former armed wing could not be challenged.

“When the joint SACP and ANC military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), was formed in 1961, Slovo, together with former president Nelson Mandela, co-founded its High Command, with the SACP headquarters at Liliesleaf Farm as the operations centre.

“When the apartheid regime arrested our stalwarts at Liliesleaf Farm, leading to the Rivonia treason trial between 1963 and 1964, Slovo was on an external mission. He had to remain in forced exile for 27 years performing SACP, ANC and MK work,” Nzimande said.

-The Citizen

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Blade Nzimande