Daily Maverick

Our allegiance is to South Africa first – we cannot fight against our own people

    • Ranjeni Munusamy
      ranjeni munusami BW

      Ranjeni Munusamy is a survivor of the Salem witch trials and has the scars to show it. She has a substantial collection of tattered t-shirts from having “been there and done it” – from government, the Zuma trials, spin-doctoring and upsetting the applecart in South African newsrooms. Following a rather unexciting exorcism ceremony, she traded her femme-fatale gear for a Macbook and a packet of Liquorice Allsorts. Her graduation Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks means she knows a thing or two about telling the South African story.

Photo:  The Chief of South African National Defence Force Siphiwe Nyanda salutes the General Officer commanding the North West province April 27, 1999, during Freedom Day Celebrations in Umtata stadium. This was the last Defence Force day parade which President Nelson Mandela attended in his Capacity of Commander in-Chief of the armed forces, before his retirement after the country's second all-race elections on June 2, 1999.

Photo: The Chief of South African National Defence Force Siphiwe Nyanda salutes the General Officer commanding the North West province April 27, 1999, during Freedom Day Celebrations in Umtata stadium. This was the last Defence Force day parade which President Nelson Mandela attended in his Capacity of Commander in-Chief of the armed forces, before his retirement after the country’s second all-race elections on June 2, 1999.

As the ANC’s internal battles intensify, another constituent structure has spoken out about the crisis, calling for the party’s mid-year policy conference to be “canned”. Veterans of the ANC’s now disbanded armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), are stepping up efforts to convene a national consultative conference to open critical engagement to “arrest the further downward spiral of the ANC”. There is also increasing concern from the former MK commanders and combatants about the activities of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and their use of “tropical camouflage uniforms” in their names. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. 29

If South Africans are befuddled about the pseudo militia group claiming to be MK veterans parading at ANC events and guarding the party headquarters, Albert Luthuli House, it pales in comparison to how the actual soldiers who fought for South Africa’s liberation feel. Umkhonto we Sizwe’s last Chief of Staff and former Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Siphiwe Nyanda, says the MK council steering committee has held several meetings with the leaders of MKMVA to discuss their use of their army’s name and regalia.

“We need to address who are these young people that we see at funerals and birthday celebrations?” Nyanda said at a MK Council media briefing at Liliesleaf farm. He said a meeting with MKMVA last week deadlocked as no agreement could be reached on who should attend a MK elective conference they planned to convene in May. 20

“MKMVA wants to play numbers game and bring all these young people in uniform we don’t know and to swamp conference with people not genuine MK members, to preserve their positions”, Nyanda said. 10

He said MK disbanded in 1994 and former soldiers integrated into the SANDF, South African Police Service (SAPS) and the public service. 4