It’s President Kebby Maphatsoe, re-elected unopposed
Ekurhuleni - Chairperson of the Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association Kebby Maphatsoe will remain at the helm of the MKMVA after he was re-elected at its 5th national congress.
The constitution of the organisation has also been amended to change Maphatsoe’s title from chairperson to president.
The controversial conference took place under a dark cloud with Maphatsoe’s deputy Teenage Monama, general secretary Dumisani Nduli and his deputy Tshidiso Paka distancing themselves from the event.
The MKMVA also clashed with former senior leaders of the ANC's liberation army, who called themselves the MK Council.
The grouping, led by former MK chief of staff Siphiwe Nyanda, wanted a joint conference.
They said one of the reasons behind their attempted intervention was to assist the ANC in changing its downward trajectory, with others saying they did not want to see the 105 liberation movement die under their watch.
They abandoned this bid last week, saying participation would be a futile exercise.
The MKMVA has also been dogged by claims that the conference would be attended by bogus members, who are mostly too young to belong to the liberation army but Maphatsoe insists that all who attended had the right to be there.
"All comrades who were here are verified members of Umkhonto WeSizwe," said Maphatsoe.
'President' Maphatsoe, in explaining the amendment to his position, said the idea was initially rejected by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, then secretary general of the ANC.
"When we were here in our first constitution we spoke of a president, but because the ANC was running the conference, comrade Motlanthe said you were an association, you can't have a president and you can't have an SG," said Maphatsoe.
He added that the idea also failed to find expression in the 2012 conference but was unopposed at plenary this weekend.
The MKMVA’s treasurer general Des Van Rooyen also retained his position, while Monama was replaced by Mpumalanga’s Taylor Mzimbeni, who represented the MK’s last detachment. Nono Mtombeni has been elected as the first deputy secretary of the association.
"We have also decided to increase the NEC [national executive committee] to 32 in order to accommodate more women," Maphatsoe told media outside of the venue where the conference was taking place in Boksburg, adding that if MK Council was there, some could have been elected.
Maptshoe said the conference went well and that some of those who were against it sitting even pitched and participated in proceedings.
"Some of them were here, they expressed their views, and they were howled," said Maphatsoe.He praised ANC NEC members Linidiwe Zulu and Gugile Nkwinti for being on hand and assisting to restore calm every time tensions arose among the group."To be honest they have no constituency, it’s just comrades that were in business or in senior positions but now are not doing well and they want to come back," said Maphatsoe, giving his own assessment of members of the MK Council.
"I think if they were here they would be elected in some potions also, because we really do need their wisdom," he continued.
The president of the MKMVA said the association would follow up on a directive issued by the president of the country and the ANC to reach out to aggrieved former combatants.