Former soldiers marched on the ANC KZN headquarters yesterday, stating their demands for preferential treatment had been ignored as the reason for the protests
The widespread corruption in government, as well as the drastic lifestyle changes for the former comrades, was at the heart of yesterdays protest, according to political analyst Lukhona Mnguni.
The analyst questioned the veterans’ insistence on preferential treatment, while the Institute for Security Studies has issued warning that the government needs to swiftly deal with the situation.
Briefly.co.za reported yesterday that the incident had seen a group of MK veterans protesting outside the ANC offices ahead of the January 8 statement.
It has now come to light that they had been impatient of the progress regarding issues that were raised a few months ago with Mdumiseni Ntuli, the KZN ANC secretary.
“This represents an indictment of how those in government have conducted themselves,” explained the analyst. “The military veterans can see those in the state living a good lifestyle while many who contributed to the struggle for a liberated South Africa are poor and struggling. Just like their comrades, they also want to be part of the eating.”
According to Mnguni there is nothing untoward about the veterans having formed an association as this is similar to ex-students from university forming a social group. He explained that this was not a paramilitary group as uMkhonto weSizwe had been disbanded ages ago and the military association was not a part of the ANC.
The issue comes in when the soldiers are used as intermediatories in factional fights within the ANC.
“The other problem is how this military structure displays a sense of entitlement, demanding privileges which are above those of ordinary South African citizens in such areas as preferential procurement and jobs.”
While Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has deemphasized reports of the protests, the veterans in the region have a history of invading state buildings to demand opportunities.
“Comrades from the MKMVA at eThekwini region had challenges and months back met the provincial secretary to discuss their issues. They wanted an opportunity to meet the provincial secretary who was not present at the time. They ended up singing outside the offices until the secretary and regional secretary Bheki Ntuli arrived to engage them on issues.” said the ANC spokesperson.
While Simelane-Zulu did not divulge what the exact issues had been, the group had taken over a district municipality building last year, threatening violence if they did not receive work and tender opportunities.
They had repeated the same routine in August, when they had taken control of Richmond and Umvoti Municipalities, demanding more preferential treatment before shutting down Msunduzi Municipality.
This latest display takes place at a sensitive point in time for the political party, with leadership touring the province ahead of birthday celebrations scheduled for later today.
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