The steering committee of the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Veterans National Council has emphasised the need for a national consultative conference of the ANC to realign the party to its original traditions, values and ideals.
Reflecting on the recent passing of ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, the council’s General Siphiwe Nyanda said that the ANC, as it exists today, no longer reflects the values and ideals that “Comrade Kathy and his peers stoically stood for in our movement”.
“In this regard, the MK Council steering committee calls on the leadership of the ANC to be courageous and rise to the occasion by giving leadership to the new wave of patriotic fervour engendered by the death of Uncle Kathy, within the ranks of the ANC and among progressive South Africans in general,” said Nyanda in delivering the committee’s statement at a media briefing today.
According to committee member Thabang Makwetla, the committee desires for the ANC, as both a party and an institution, to examine itself and to “put things back in order”.
As a result, the committee recommends that the national consultative conference include all leaders of the ANC movement to be a part of the discussion.
“In order to save South Africa, we have to save the ANC,” said Makwetla.
With regard to the motion of no confidence proposed by opposition parties, Makwetla said the ANC cannot “aid” a vote that was not initiated by themselves.
“Only ANC members can correct what is wrong with the ANC. The ANC must take responsibility to correct what is wrong,” said Makwetla.
“We cannot defer that responsibility to the opposition.”
However, the committee still believes the ANC is the party that can best serve the country in order to achieve a “democratic and non-racial South Africa”.
Yet, committee members warned that the party could not do so in its current form and with its current leadership.
The committee asserted that they would not defend individual members of the ANC but would continue to champion the ideals of the party.
As former MK members, committee members acknowledged the ANC’s influence in shaping who they are today.
However, committee members also noted that when they joined MK, they pledged to remain soldiers of the South African revolution in the service of the people of South Africa.
“In the end, our allegiance is to the country and through the ANC to the country,” said Nyanda.
“We joined the ANC because we thought the ANC is the best instrument to advance our national liberation. It’s country first.”
While the committee said they would continue to defend the values and principles of the ANC, the members condemned the use of the MK uniform by people defending Luthuli House during last Friday’s anti-Zuma protest.
“As a former guerilla army, we took up arms in support of the angry protest of our people,” said committee member Ka Shabangu.
“Today, the ones who want to defend or who pretend to be defending the head office against the angry protest of our people whom we fought for is a serious irony.
"We will not and shall not condone such activities. We never took an oath to find ourselves fighting against our own people.”
The committee also announced an assembly of the national council on May 6.