Home South African Carl Niehaus slams MK unity conference proceedings

Carl Niehaus slams MK unity conference proceedings

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Niehaus described the conference as an organisational disaster without proper transport and accommodation arrangements.

MKMVA Carl Niehaus Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

UMKHONTO we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) member Carl Niehaus has described the MK unity conference as a sham and organisational disaster which will turn up “a pre-cooked leader”.

Niehaus, 61, tested positive for Covid-19 at the conference, held at the East London ICC, and was told to leave. The Department of Military Veterans and the all-inclusive ex-MK Conference Preparatory Committee hosted the three-day conference that ended on Saturday.

The theme was renewal, unity, welfare and discipline.

Department of Military Veterans spokesperson Lebogang Mothapa said the conference united combatants from both MKMVA and Umkhonto we Sizwe National Council (MKNC) including the entire ex-MK community under one umbrella.

“After several attempts to unite the MK, to address challenges of their welfare, housing needs, health care, skilling and education support for military veterans and their dependants, it is envisaged that the conference will bring together all ex-MK combatants as a united force to chart a way forward,” Mothapa said.

Niehaus called for the delegates not to compromise on the mandate. Niehaus said he tested positive at the conference for Covid-19 and was not allowed to partake. He insisted on an elective conference – nothing less – and not to accept an imposed constitution that will destroy MK veterans.

A media conference will be held in Johannesburg on Tuesday to chart a way forward.

Niehaus described the conference as an organisational disaster without proper transport and accommodation arrangements.

“We wanted our inputs to be submitted. How do we accept an opposed appointed leadership? What happened was premeditated. They have done everything possible to prevent me from participating,” Niehaus said.

He added that the conference programme and discussion documents were not made available in advance and only presented at the commencement of the conference.

Niehaus said: “A proposed constitution was tabled without us being able to read and consider it properly, and attempts were made to force us to just simply adopt it. We do not know where this draft constitution originated from and who drafted it. We had the understanding that it would be an elective conference.”

Niehaus said to his shock he heard it was simply a consultative conference and that a list of names should be proposed/nominated that can be presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa for him to decide who will constitute a so-called interim leadership/task team that is supposed to lead “us”.

Niehaus intends to interdict the conference and to have it declared illegal.

“It is because of factionalism and divisions within the ANC that we as MK veterans have been divided.”

Mothapa said the conference was also about educating the younger generation on the contribution of military veterans during the Struggle against apartheid.

“One entity focused on preserving the good legacy it has and imparting these stories to the younger generations.”

Mothapa said the conference helped sensitise ex-combatants to the Department of Military Veterans’ database and verification process.

ANC member David Mahlobo said more than 500 delegates attended the conference from all nine provinces.

“We received a report on the draft constitutional guidelines that were considered by this meeting. We had an opportunity where the government through Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla has given an account of how they tried to attend to these issues. Significant progress has been made but there are challenges we are experiencing,.”

Mahlobo said that during the course of the meeting there were comrades who voiced dissatisfaction and were not happy with some of the proceedings.

“They notified the conference that they are leaving. It is an unfortunate incident. When they left all nine provinces indicated that the opinion of these members were not of their view.”

Mahlobo said they apologised for the logistical issues.

“To those comrades that walked out. We are prepared to continue to listen and engage with you because it is our wish that nobody must be left behind.”

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