Durban – Unhappy members of Mkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have threatened to march to Union Buildings to stage a hunger strike until they get the attention of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The threat of the hunger strike was one of the several resolutions taken during a meeting of the disgruntled members held in KwaMashu, north of Durban on Saturday.
The meeting which was attended by about 150 ex-liberation soldiers falling under the umbrella of MKMVA and was meant to pile pressure on Ramaphosa to establish a commission of inquiry to look at the welfare of all liberation soldiers from all liberation parties.
Speaking to Independent Media, the spokesperson of the disgruntled group, Lwazi Mzobe said they feel betrayed and neglected by the government of the ruling party as most of them are struggling to make ends meet.
He said the commission should not only look at their welfare at the present moment but also look at their plight from 1990 when they returned to the country after being away for years.
“We want the commission to find out what happened to the resettlement money which was supposed to be given to combatants upon their return. If you look at it now, it is clear that ex-soldiers were dumped in the country without any help yet there was money allocated for that. Some needed counselling and medical help but they never got it. Some soldiers came back from exile only to find that their families were dismantled by the apartheid government and they were rendered homeless. It’s time all that is looked at,” Mzobe said.
Asked why they were not using the MKMVA to wage the fight, Mzobe said its leadership has failed them, hence they are fighting separately.
MKMVA spokesperson, Carl Niehus, did not respond to the issue of failing their members but he said they understand the initiative and they back it since their members have been greatly neglected by government and that was “a shame”.
According to Mzobe, the move to write to Ramaphosa is backed by ex Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) as they are facing similar challenges.
However, the national chairperson of ex-APLA combatants, Ray Fihla said they were not aware of the latest move by the disgruntled soldiers. But he stressed that despite belonging to different groupings, issues that have to do with welfare of ex liberation forces are jointly fought as they suffer the same challenges.
“There is a lot of disillusionment amongst ex-combatants, generally we feel that government has failed us… So, even if we were not consulted, we support the initiative because it is meant to highlight the plight of all ex-combatants,” Fihla said.
Gregory Nthatisi of the MK Council, a splinter group from MKMVA and still within the ANC said the only process he is aware of is the resolution on the unification of MK structures and the need to attend to the welfare of all veterans.
Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale did not respond when asked whether or not the president is aware of the matter as claimed by Mzobe.