ANC war veterans on the warpath

23 October 2011 - 04:23 By MOIPONE MALEFANE
MK veterans condemned the youth league's behaviour
MK veterans condemned the youth league's behaviour

They want elective conference in 2012 scrapped

A group of ANC military veterans is lobbying for a special national conference to resolve "the organisational crisis" threatening to tear the movement apart ahead of its much-anticipated leadership elections next year.

In a discussion document drawn up by the MK Military Veterans Association's (MKMVA) commissariat, the former combatants also suggest that the holding of the Mangaung conference - where President Jacob Zuma is expected to seek a second term as party leader - could be "suicidal" considering "the current state of the organisation".

The commissariat's proposal of an ANC national consultative conference is expected to dominate discussions at a meeting of ex-combatants in Joburg today.

It comes at a time when the leadership succession debate is hotting up within and outside party structures, despite an instruction from the ANC national executive committee for the issue not to be discussed.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is being touted as a possible candidate for the ANC presidency, hasdenied he is lobbying for any post.

The commissariat, led by Alex Mashinini, is made up of ex-ANC political commissars. It was revived last year following a resolution of the ANC's national general councilin Durban.

In the document, the ANC is described as a party in turmoil and is about to implode. Its authors say at a meeting with Zuma last year, he admitted as much when he told MKMVA members that the ANC was "disintegrating".

They then question the wisdom of holding an elective conference under such circumstances. "What drives people in an organisation that is in a state of chaos, disintegrating and about to implode to pursue with such heightened fervour and passionate zeal an elective conference that will, for all intents and purposes, lead to its ultimate demise and destruction.

"Can anyone explain the rationale of an organisation that is conscious of its imminent disintegration and implosion and yet decides to ignore these dangers and opt instead for a route to self-destruction only because its constitution requires that an elective conference be held at certain prescribed regular intervals," reads the document.

The commissars then propose that a non-elective consultative conference be held instead.

While in exile, the ANC convened two consultative conferences - in Morogoro, Tanzania, in 1969 and in Kabwe, Zambia, in 1985. The document says a consultative conference "will offer the true membership of the ANC an opportunity" to:

  • Reclaim the party branch structures;
  • Cleanse the ANC of "counter-revolutionary manifestations" such as corruption, nepotism and tribalism; and
  • "Reinstate" the "supremacy" of the Freedom Charter.

MKMVA chairman Kebby Maphatsoe yesterday distanced the organisation from the document. He said he saw it for the first time yesterday during the MKMVA national executive committee meeting. "They [commissars] are undermining us and the ANC, therefore the proposal has no standing in MKMVA and the ANC," he said.

The document claims its proposal has received wide support from former guerrillas and the ANC rank-and-file. Although the ANC constitution is silent on the "consultative conference", it does make provisions for the holding of a "special conference" if such is demanded by the majority of provinces.

Mashinini, who is the commissariat's organiser, could not be reached for comment yesterday while its secretary Sidwell Moroka refused to comment saying their discussions were an internal matter.