The Ministry of Defence has supported the work of a committee that verified the struggle credentials of MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus.
WHILE the Ministry of Defence has supported the work of a committee that verified the struggle credentials for MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus, Niehaus has vowed to continue consulting with his legal representative over a decision made by the committee.
On Wednesday, Minister Thandi Modise’s department confirmed it had received a letter from Niehaus on March 9 in which he detailed the shocking treatment he had allegedly received from the Database Cleansing and Verification Committee during interviews.
Niehaus last week called for the removal of Database Verification Committee chairperson, retired Major-General Enoch Mashoala from his position, accusing him of political grandstanding.
Niehaus at the time said he had been aggrieved by the manner in which the committee interviewed MKMVA members to establish their bona fides, stating that the process had “degenerated into an interrogation session led by Mashoala, who Niehaus described as “very aggressive”.
But Mashoala hit back, saying Niehaus was never part of the MK and was never under any battalion or command, and that he instead was given a letter stating that he would be included in the department’s database as a political prisoner.
The Department of Defence meanwhile said it had “confidence in the integrity and rigour of the committee’s verification process“.
It added that this “process and criteria have been applied consistently across the board” and that since the beginning of the month, up to 138 military veterans had been confirmed as bona fide members of either uMkhonto We Sizwe or the Azanian People’s Liberation Army.
“We wish to dispel any notion in the public’s mind that the government will change its verification criteria in order to address individual cases,” its statement read, adding the Data and Verification panel was independent of the Ministry and formed part of the Presidential Task Team.
Modise’s office said the task team would have a meeting later this month where the matter would be addressed during the committee’s progress report.
But, in response, Niehaus said he had forwarded Modise’s letter to his attorneys and added that they would advise him concerning any further responses that may be required regarding the legal issues involved.
“As far as the very serious socio-political issues concerning my complaint and the minister’s response are concerned, I will consult further with my fellow comrades, who are MK veterans, many of whom are also deeply and very personally affected by the issues that I have raised in my letter of complaint. I will be led by those consultations in how I will respond further,” Niehaus said.
“Shortly after having received the said letter of response from the minister to my letter of complaint, sources in the media drew my attention to the fact that she has simultaneously (also at about 13:30) to me having received her letter, issued a public media statement in response to my letter of complaint. I find it extraordinary that this media statement was issued simultaneously to her letter that was addressed to me personally,” he said.
“Nowhere in her letter is it indicated that its content will be made public. One is left with the distinct, uncomfortable impression of oneupmanship and a media ambush, which immediately brings the good faith of Modise and the content of her letter to me into question,” Niehaus said.
He further said the approach by Modise and her spokesperson showed a similar approach to that which had been taken by Mashaola.
– Political Bureau