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Maphatsoe rubbishes reports that he forced department to finance MKMVA conference

JOHANNESBURG, June 19 – Newly re-elected uMkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) president Kebby Maphatsoe on Monday rubbished claims that he had forced the department of military veterans to fork out R8 million to finance the association’s 5th elective conference.

Maphatsoe, who is also deputy minister of the military veterans department, said his organisation had proof that no one was coerced to pay for its conference held earlier this month in Ekurhuleni.

According to a Sunday Times report at the weekend, Maphatsoe “twisted arms” to get the department’s acting director general Max Ozynski to release the R8 million in funding.

But Maphatsoe insisted the MKMVA followed procedures in requesting funding and wrote a letter to the department.

“I did not twist the DG’s hand. I don’t have executive powers to do that even… I could have been charged by now,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“The facts are that the minister authorised funding for the conference.”

He said Ozynski wrote back to the MKHVA and said the decision on funding belonged with the council on defence, and not the department.

“We do not know how the council on defence comes into the affairs of military veterans, because we have a fully fledged department of military veterans established….he then suggested that the MKMVA and the military veterans minister [Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula] sit and decide on the conference funding…I have all the letters here,” said Maphatsoe.

He then refuted allegations by a competing veterans grouping, the MK National Council led by former SA National Defence Force (SANDF) general Siphiwe Nyanda, that the MKMVA conference was marred by fraudulent accreditation. The council said 60 percent of delegates were serving members of the SANDF, while others were former members of the apartheid-era defence force.

“On arrival at the conference, the delegates had to present their credentials and were duly registered in a professional manner. We reject the unsubstantiated allegations that have subsequently that the accreditation of delegates at our conference was flawed or fraudulent.”

Both MK structures claim to represent the interests of all former anti-apartheid soldiers.

The MK council’s own elective conference is scheduled to take place in August.

Meanwhile, New MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national executive committee member Carl Niehaus, labelled a liar and a fraudster, should not be judged by his past, the association said.

“No one is perfect in the ranks of the ANC and MK. In fact, at MK, when you did something wrong, we would give you a corrective measure, not punishment. We are not going to allow our enemies to destroy our own comrades…should someone commit a mistake, that person is corrected by the ANC,” said MKMVA President Kebby Maphatsoe

He said Niehaus was a “trained commissar” who was good at communication.

“So you’re here raising comrade Karl’s credibility? Do not take lightly that he is just a fraudster, no. We are very proud of his struggle credentials, that is why we elected him to the MKMVA NEC and hope he will do good work for the association…he is a communication commissar.”

His new position in the MKMVA seems to signal the return of Niehaus to active politics. He sat quietly with the MKMVA top leaders and listened to Maphatsoe as he responded to questions at the media briefing at Luthuli House.

Niehaus is widely remembered for admitting to lying several times, including lying about his father’s death several years ago. He reportedly asked the then deputy justice minister Andries Nel for a loan to transport his father’s body from the Western Cape to Zeerust, North West. Nel drove to Zeerust to support his grieving old friend Niehaus on the day of the supposed funeral, but found no such a death or funeral.

Allegations of fraud, mounting debt, falsifying ministers’ signatures piled up several years ago against the former ANC national spokesman. He resigned as spokesman in 2009 in the wake of the damning allegations against him, which he reportedly admitted to.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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