The ANC’s disbanded Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) has appointed an acting president following the death of its leader Kebby Maphatsoe.
MKMVA deputy president Taylor Nsimbini will take over Maphatsoe’s roles after the association’s national executive committee (NEC) met on Tuesday.
MK unity conference
In a statement on Wednesday, MKMVA national spokesperson Carl Niehaus said the NEC formally nominated Nsimbini and their treasurer-general, Des van Rooyen, to represent the association on the ANC’s task team that is preparing for the MK unity conference.
The ANC has been pushing for the MKMVA and the MK Council – which were disbanded earlier this year – to hold a unity conference since the ruling party’s 2017 Nasrec conference due to the political tensions between the two bodies.
MKMVA under Maphatsoe’s leadership was largely seen as former president Jacob Zuma’s mouthpiece during his presidency while the MK Council had called for his removal from office over corruption and state capture allegations.
Niehaus said Maphatsoe had expressed a wish before his passing for the unity conference to be held soon. Maphatsoe died last week from a heart failure. He was 58.
“The NEC of MKMVA noted that we have a duty to make sure that the MK unity conference must be held as soon as possible.
“This was the expressed wish of our late president, and that wish must be brought to a successful execution, as part of honoring his legacy,” he said.
Niehaus said the MKMVA NEC emphasised that the MK unity conference should be held as a matter of urgent priority, as soon as possible after the local government elections.
“The MKMVA NEC is committed that the unity conference must be held well in advance of the 16th of December 2021, when the 60th Anniversary of the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe [MK], on the 16th of December 1961, will be celebrated. This important anniversary must be celebrated by it united MK veterans community.”
Police open cases after Maphatsoe’s funeral
Despite police conducting investigations into the events that unfold on Sunday at West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg, during Maphatsoe’s funeral, the MKMVA said the funeral was dignified and befitting “a liberation struggle hero of his stature”.
A video doing the rounds on social media showed Maphatsoe’s supporters sending him off in a gunfire salute that is alleged to have ended in the injury of an elderly woman and shattered a bedroom window of another.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo told The Citizen on Monday that police had opened cases following the funeral.
“We opened cases, not only for the shooting, but other cases as well. We opened a case in terms of the Firearms Control Act and discharging of a firearm in a built-up area.
“Also in terms of the disaster management regulations for the number of people that attended the funeral as well as the time they took. Remember there is a time frame for funerals, which is two hours. This funeral went on for almost an entire day. So we opened cases for that as well,” Naidoo said.