UMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans National Council (MKNC) speaking on behalf of all generations of former combatants of the Peoples’ Army, MK, addresses this media conference to declare our deep concern at the alarming deeper crisis facing the African National Conference, and our country. We address the media today on critical issues facing the ANC and our country, with our hearts in sorrow, and banners lowered in respect, over the loss of a freedom fighter, and great human rights lawyer, George Bizos SC.
His name, face and face are not strangers to the many freedom fighters he defended in the apartheid courts, at great risk to his own personal safety. His courage and outspokenness against our oppression is well known to the people of our country. He has left us at his advanced age of 92, at this critical period of the existence of our endangered freedom and democracy, and we shall always, remember him!
Our analysis and understanding of the current situation in the ANC and our country, brings us to the conclusion that, the ANC is no more at the crossroads, but it is firmly on a downward spiral, and most disturbingly, it is taking our country down alongside itself, on this unfortunately destructive path.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is holding our country at ransom, and delivering heavy body punches on our limping economy, the society in its totality has also had to bear with the worst beyond increasing levels of gender based violence, poverty, joblessness, and inequalities. The nation is numbed by the corruption and criminally reckless conduct of the ANC led government, during the period under investigation, being exposed in the Zondo Commission on State Capture.
But the society is also rightfully angry with, and disgusted at the murderous corruption that seems to have accompanied the procurement of PPEs, and other COVID-19 consequences alleviation measures. These are happening under the watch of our ANC government, and we are disheartened that ANC leaders and members are often implicated in these shameful activities.
In that regard, MKNC has noted, and is no doubt in its equivocal support, of the anti-corruption stance, and the call for the desperate need for ethical leadership of our movement and our country, as expressed in the declaration of the South African Communist Party; the Letter of the ANC Veterans’ League rebutting the senseless rant of Cde Jacob Zuma in his letter purporting to respond to the President Ramaphosa’s letter to the members of the ANC; The Call Of The South African Council of Churches and the deep concerns raised by the Foundations of the former leaders and stalwarts of the ANC.
At this point, we would like to express our affirmation of the letter of President Cyril Ramaphosa to the ANC members. We must also state our deep appreciation for its approval and support of its core message, principles, recommendations and conclusion, by the entire National Executive Committee of the ANC.
However, we must also point out that we are shocked and disturbed that instead of witnessing action supporting the spirit of the decisions of the ANC NEC regarding that letter, we see no action, except a clear indication of defiance by those leaders who have to lead by example. We must state it here, that the reported utterances by Cde Bongani Bongo that he is still awaiting communication from ANC leadership regarding his need to step aside, while facing a criminal charge for bribery, is in our understanding, meant to defeat the course of renewing the ANC.
Further, we must express the fact that we find the reported response by Cde Andile Lungisa to the Nelson Mandela Bay Regional Task Team, that the decision of the NEC does not refer to his situation, as either a very poor understanding of the ANC communications, processes and issues of ethical leadership. This is because as a public representative of the ANC he holds a leadership position.
We fail to understand why Cde Zandile Gumede, who is facing charges of corruption and was meant to step aside from the KwaZulu Natal Legislature, is still part of that institution, after more than a week of the ANC NEC pronounced itself that all leaders and public representatives who are facing criminal charges, must step aside to assist the ANC to cleanse itself.
We are disappointed and most unpleasantly surprised that Cde Danny Msiza and Cde Florence Radzilani are reported to be back at work despite the fact that the ANC Integrity Committee made a finding on them. While the courts cleared them, the Integrity Committee has not done so, and as an institution tasked with issues of the upkeep of the values of the ANC, we believe it should be given priority to relook into their case, before they were reinstated in their leadership position
This revelation of the seemingly consistent two sided nature of the conduct of the members of the ANC, on the leadership decisions of the ANC, is to us, deeply concerning and needs definite action to correct. This is if indeed the ANC must, and is committed on the project of renewing itself to win back the confidence of the people of South Africa.
We are here after almost four years of struggling for our unity as a community of MK veterans. In this effort we are armed with the 54th National Conference resolution that instructs the NEC of the ANC to expedite our unity. In this regard, the ANC NEC gave that responsibility to the NEC subcommittee on Peace and Stability, led by Cde Tony Yengeni to facilitate the desired unity.
So far, Cde Tony Yengeni has proved himself either incapable of leading that project, or deliberately flip flopping it because of his partiality in the process. For instance, he has found himself addressing an RET gathering, which is clearly a factional grouping within the ANC, and clearly working to distort ANC policies in favor of populist positions.
He has further failed to take corrective action against Cde Kebby Maphatsoe’s MKMVA grouping, which has routinely held press conferences, churned out press releases and made several media comments disregarding our agreement that neither MKMVA nor MKNC can make public pronouncements except those cleared through our agreed upon protocols.
The above cited resistance on ANC NEC decisions, and the silence of the very ANC NEC on these issues, presents to us a clear message that there are two ANCs within one ANC. We may not be faulted to hold a view that there is the ANC which is committed to the renewal of the ANC and the rebuilding of our country, and yet there is another ANC within the ANC that supports filibustering, corruption and has a penchant to perpetuate the ANC as broken organization alienated from the people.
We believe that we can no more afford to stand back and wait for the completion of the process of uniting the community of MK veterans, when the ANC is struggling in its apparent death throes because of the misdemeanors of its leading members, and it is clear that those who must provide leadership and guidance on this matter, are apparently committed to the opposite.
We are pained by the fact that these violations, by ANC members and leaders, happen when the majority of military veterans, like other members of the society are wallowing in poverty. We believe that a healthy, rejuvenated and renewed ANC, will be in a better position, to facilitate the benefits of military veterans, and alleviate poverty in our communities.
We therefore, hold now as never before, the view that the unity of the MK community can only be facilitated by a select group of senior and respected former leaders, and members of MK, who themselves are stalwarts and veterans of the national liberation movement.
As MKNC, we hold hands with the social partners of the ANC and society’s sectoral leaders that have been critical of the movements’ waywardness, and we therefore call on all who face charges of corruption and serious crimes in the courts of country, to remove themselves from positions of responsibility in the ANC.
We call upon all those who face allegations of wrongdoings that threaten the reputation of the movement, to present themselves to the Integrity Commission as the movements’ institution that must assess our individual suitability to uphold and respect the values, principles and traditions of the ANC as leaders and members of the ANC.
We must make a strong indication that our critical situation instructs upon us that we cannot anymore be about individuals. Everything that we do must be about the ANC as the servant movement of the people of South Africa and not anymore about individuals. Every effort we put for the renewal of the ANC is about supporting the principle of a people led ANC that cares for the interests of the people of our country.
Finally, we must announce that in our resolve to make our critical contribution in the renewal of the ANC, we intend to unfold a program to meet with the critical leadership of the movement, from the national structures through to Provincial, Regional and Branches, the Leagues, SACP, COSATU, SACC, the Foundations of our former leaders, and other formations of the mass democratic movement.
The reason for this meetings is to get views and how best to resolve the crisis the movement is finding itself in, and to test our views on how best to save our movement, the ANC which is clearly threatening to die in our hands, if serious interventions for its redemption are not urgently formulated and implemented.
It is our strongly considered view that the ANC belongs to the people and not only its members. Therefore, whether it dies or survives, is in the final analysis residing in the ANC of the people in their entirety.
We see the undivided focus on the unfolding of this program as perhaps the most critically important in saving the ANC which everyday these days, brings it closer to its inglorious death or emphatic rebirth, of which only the people of South Africa in their majority will be the ultimate arbiters.