uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) treasurer-general Des Van Rooyen told guests at a commemoration gala dinner that at the next MKMVA meeting he would push for a resolution that all members read The New Age newspaper and watch news channel ANN7 — both owned by the Gupta family to whom he has been linked in a report on “state capture”.
Van Rooyen also lashed out at former uMkhonto weSizwe generals holding a national council for former MK members this Saturday.
The MKMVA’s 55th commemoration gala dinner was held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park on Thursday night.
The MK veterans’ council, led by former South African National Defence Force chief Siphiwe Nyanda, is seen as a direct challenge on MKMVA chairman Kebby Maphatsoe.
Van Rooyen berated the leaders for trying to take control of the MKMVA and the department of defence & military veterans, despite opposing a motion for their creation at the ANC’s historic 2007 Polokwane elective conference.
“Today they want by hook or crook to gain control of the same department and association that they gave us a tough time on in Polokwane,” he said.
Van Rooyen, who was giving the vote of thanks, accused them of spreading malicious information ahead of the gala dinner.
The MKMVA event came under fierce criticism for honouring controversial figures including the SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former Eskom boss Brian Molefe and South African Airways board chairwoman Dudu Myeni. However, the move was abandoned at the last minute. The trio were a no-show at the dinner.
The event has been branded as factional by critics who also say it is linked with the Gupta family and honours people who are said to have close ties to the family.
“Thank you for coming. As you are well aware, there was malicious information that was spread to belittle or undermine this particular activity. Despite the malicious information you came to observe this important activity,” Van Rooyen said.
President Jacob Zuma was due to give the keynote address but did not attend. ANC national executive committee member and state security minister David Mahlobo said the president was not in attendance because “he was not well” and doctors had instructed him to rest.
Maphatsoe, meanwhile, called for unity. “Our clarion call should be nothing else but unity. The body blows being landed on the national liberation movement today are becoming bolder by day.
“They are rising in their noise to dissuade the movement from effecting change our people yearn for. They even declare the ANC dead or dying in preparation to serve its corpse to the vultures,” Maphatsoe said.
Last week, he wrote to members to boycott the MK veterans’ council. He argued it was not part of ANC structures, a message repeated by van Rooyen.
“There is only one MKMVA recognised by the ANC, officiated and established under the leadership of ANC. There is only one MKMVA,” Van Rooyen said.
Van Rooyen thanked the event’s sponsors, including the Gupta-owned ANN7 and The New Age, for supporting the gala dinner attended of 350 guests.
“These hostile forces all of a sudden today, they want us to believe they can tell us how to take the developmental agenda of our country forward.”
He added that at the next MKMVA meeting he would push for a resolution that all members read The New Age and watch ANN7.
“We thank you ANN7 and New Age for being there when we call for support for our cause,” Van Rooyen said.
Last month, Van Rooyen tried to interdict the release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
Cellphone records put Van Rooyen at the Gupta compound the night before Zuma appointed him finance minister. Zuma cowed to pressure four days after the appointment and moved him to his current ministerial portfolio of co-operative governance & traditional affairs.