General Siphiwe NyandaAt the weekend General Siphiwe Nyanda presented a memorandum to ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, calling on President Jacob Zuma to step down.

He did so on on behalf of 25 former senior commanders and commissars in Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) both outside and inside South Africa during the three decades of armed struggle against apartheid.

But who are the sigantories?

Paul Trewhela – himself jailed for his anti-apartheid activities – provides profiles of some of the signatories.

Martin


 

General Nyanda (MK, Gebhuza) was a member of MK’s Operation Vula within South Africa, along with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Ambassador Moe Shaik, when this detachment was headed by President Jacob Zuma in exile. He was chief of staff of MK (1992), member of the Transitional Executive Council which oversaw the change of government in 1994, chief of the South African National Defence Force (1998-2005), Minister of Communications (2009-2010) and is currently a parliamentary counsellor to President Zuma.

Among its signatories is James Ngculu, deputy chief of Military Intelligence in MK in exile, and author of The Honour to Serve (David Philip, 2010), a history of MK, and Dr Snuki Zikalala, former managing director of news and current affairs at the SABC.

Another signatory, Jabu Moleketi was deputy minister of Finance under ex-President Thabo Mbeki (2004-08).

Sindiso Mfenyana was ANC secretary for education in exile and administrative secretary to Nelson Mandela when he was president.

General Nhlanhla Ngwenya was chief of the SANDF (2005-2010), having been in command of all MK forces in Angola (1983-88).

A previous version of the memorandum called for Zuma’s “dignified exit” as president of the ANC and of the country.

The current version notes that the signatories are “saddened and outraged” at events such as Zuma’s sacking of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December It argues that under Zuma there has been “abuse of state institutions for ulterior motives”. The signatories “reject with contempt” efforts to malign the integrity and good standing” of deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas – who revealed he had rejected an offer of promotion made by the Gupta family of financiers – and specifically call on Kebby Maphatsoe, the deputy minister of Defence and Military Veterans, to “desist from further maligning the good name” of Mcebisi Jonas.

Maphatsoe – the head of the MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), who held no rank in MK in exile – alleged today that the signatories of the memorandum “want to cause mutiny.”

Alleged “mutiny” in MK in Angola in 1984 resulted in imprisonment of leaders in the ANC’s gulag, Quatro, and public executions. Maphatsoe and three fellow leaders of MKMVA are currently facing charges of corruption in the South Gauteng High Court issued by six applicants who are former members of MK in exile.

My two articles “Who is Kebby Maphatsoe?” (Politicsweb, 1 May 2013) and “Who is Kebby Maphatsoe? (part 2)” (Politicsweb, 9 September 2014) provide essential background.

So does my article “ANC:  A party under violent, criminal siege” (Mail & Guardian, 4 August 2012)

The MK commanders and commissars argue that they are “forced to speculate that important decisions of the State are subject to outside influence and unilateralism without any regard to the well-being of the country or our people.”

They state: “we have witnessed, amongst other things, the rise of factions and slates, the diminishing quality of ANC cadreship, the rise of antagonisms within the Alliance, the breakaway of Unions from Cosatu, the break-up of the ANC Youth League, the marginalization of committed ANC comrades, the rise of vulgar and unsophisticated politics within the ANC, the silencing of critical but necessary voices within the ANC, the wanton destabilization of critical state institutions, the wasteful expenditure of state resources, the devaluing of the critical institution of Parliament, the erosion of trust within the various arms of the State, the unprecedented rise of patronage and cronyism, the Juniorization of the State and the ANC and most alarming of them all, the use of the State machinery for the private interest of the few.”

They signatories state they are “most concerned about the increasing tendency of state capture.” They state they “can no longer remain silent in the face of this most undemocratic and dangerous of developments.”

Underneath the accusation of “mutiny” levelled against the leading MK veterans by Kebby Maphatsoe I have posted Max du Preez’s article from last Tuesday, “Was 9/12 the beginning of Zuma’s end?”, which provoked the attack on him yesterday by Zuma’s son, Edward Zuma, accusing du Preez of being a “bitter, white, old man” and suggesting he is an “agent” of unspecified imperialist forces.

The memorandum was followed by a public call on Zuma to step down from a founder member of MK and fellow accused of Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial, Denis Goldberg, who served 22 years in prison.

The memorandum is unique in the history of the ANC. There has never previously been such a joint political stand by such senior commanders of MK, in opposition to the leadership of the ANC.

– Paul


 FULL TEXT: MK generals, veterans call for Zuma to step down

2016-03-23 16:57

Memorandum from Senior Commanders and Commissars of the former military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe.

A time to Act!

1. We, the undersigned, are all committed cadres of the African National Congress, having served our glorious movement for many decades. Throughout our lives, and whenever the need arose, we did not hesitate to raise our hands to be counted among those who could be deployed in her service. Whatever the challenges we faced, whatever the risks we had to endure, we gave our all. In responding to the call of duty, we never strove for personal benefit, status or power. We executed our tasks as commanded to us by the leadership of the ANC, comfortably in the knowledge that the decisions of the leadership were based solely on the selfless pursuit of the well-being of our people. As such, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood.

2. We responded to call our duty, because we correctly believed, as we still do, in the centrality of the ANC in the people’s struggle against apartheid, and in the democratic transformation of our society to achieve a better life for the people of our country.

3. As disciplined cadres of the movement, we sought always to interpret the actions of the leadership of the ANC, through the policies, strategies and tactics of our organisation.

4. Recent events in our beloved country have both saddened and outraged us. The unwarranted and unceremonious removal of Comrade Nene from the post of Minister of Finance and his proposed re-deployment to a junior post in the New Development Bank leaves much to be desired and communicates the singular message that all is not well with our movement and in the State. What objective was served by the removal of Comrade Nene at such a fragile time of the country’s economy? How do we justify his redeployment to a junior post as a decisive promotion directed at serving the national interest? By what criteria was Cde Des van Rooyen chosen to this most critical post?

5. We welcomed the intervention that led to the appointment of Comrade Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance. This was a critical and necessary corrective step in order to prevent massive irreparable damage to the economy.

6. We are outraged by the investigation of so called SARS “rogue unit” by the Hawks of Comrade Pravin Gordhan and other senior comrades in such a public and antagonistic matter that would suggest the abuse of state institutions for purposes other than which they were created for. We are of the view, that these comrades are been targeted because they have consistently taken a stand against all forms of corruption and mismanagement in our public life, especially where it concerns public finances. We demand to know on whose instructions are the Hawks acting on and for what purposes? How do we justify the destruction of our economy and currency by such despotic acts

7. The recent revelations by Comrade Jonas Mcebisi that he was offered the post of Minister of Finance by the Gupta family in the presence of Duduzani Zuma is shocking and most embarrassing to the integrity of the ANC and the State. We salute this most courageous of acts by Comrade Mcebisi, and believe he has acted in the interest of the truth and in the defence of the the prestige ANC. We reject with contempt efforts to malign his integrity and good standing, and specifically call on Cde Kebby Maphatsoe to desist from further maligning the good name of Comrade Jonas Mcebisi.

8. In the light of these revelations, we demand to know what role do the Gupta family play in the appointment of Ministers and to what end? Which other Ministers have been approached in this manner? What are private arrangements that have been made with the Gupta family? Is the the leadership of the ANC aware of these arrangements ? On whose authority does the Gupta Family act in such a despicable manner?

9. In the absence of any coherent explanation to all of the above we are forced to conclude that the ANC no longer leads, and that important decisions of the State are subject to outside influence and unilateralism without any regard to the well-being of the country or our people;

10. As a direct consequence of these actions our country has been plunged into an uncertain and perilous future.

11. Further, over the years we have witnessed, amongst others, the rise of factions and slates, the diminishing quality of ANC cadreship, the rise of antagonisms within the Alliance, the breakaway of Unions from Cosatu, the break-up of the ANC youth League, the marginalization of committed ANC comrades, the rise of vulgar and unsophisticated politics within the ANC, the silencing of critical but necessary voice within the ANC, the wanton destabilization of critical state institutions, the wasteful expenditure of state resources, the devaluing of the critical institution of Parliament, the erosion of trust within the various arms of the State, the unprecedented rise of patronage and cronyism, the Juniorization of the State and the ANC and most alarming of them all, the capture of the State for the pursuit of the private interest of the few.

12. The country as a whole has been subjected to one crisis after another. As a result the nation building project so necessary for the prosperity of our country, is unfolding before our very eyes and the national psyche is characterized by helplessness and the fear of what the future may hold.

13. Whilst the challenges that face the ANC are many and complex, we are most concerned about the increasing tendency of state capture. In this regard, we want to be clear and unambiguous, when we speak of state capture, we speak of the undue influence that the Gupta family exerts on the decisions of the State for their private benefit. We can no longer remain silent in the face of this most undemocratic and dangerous of developments.

14. There are many, many accounts of their undue influence on the decisions of the State. We are convinced that much of these accounts are true. There can be no smoke, without fire!!

15. We call on the leadership of the ANC to act against this tendency and reclaim its dignity. We must free the ANC and the State from the influence of the Guptas and their beneficiaries;

16. Specifically, we called on the leadership of the ANC to establish a independent judicial commission of enquiry to investigate all claims of undue influence by the Gupta family on the ANC and on the State.

17. We call on the leadership ANC to assess, in light of the many failings and embarrassing revelations pertaining to the leadership of Comrade J ZUMA of both the ANC and the State, the wisdom to continue with Comrade J Zuma at the helm of both the ANC and the State. We are of the view, that for the sake of the ANC and the country a dignified exit should be negotiated with Comrade J Zuma.

Long live the ANC !