Land issue not handled properly by ANC in Parliament – MKMVA

Kebby Maphatsoe says that if it comes to a push, we can go for the amendment of our Constitution for the expropriation of land without compensation

Land issue not handled properly in Parliament – MKMVA

Johannesburg – The issue of land is among those to be tackled by the Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) when it sits down for its national executive committee meeting on Saturday.

This is according to its chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe.

Speaking to News24 this week, he said President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech will be on the agenda, with a particular focus on radical economic transformation and questions around whether or not enough is being done to return land to the country’s majority.

“The land issue is still a priority as far as our agenda is concerned,” said Maphatsoe.

He told News24 he believed the National Assembly did not approach the issue correctly.

“We think as the MKMVA that this issue could be handled different from the way it was handled in Parliament,” he said.

This week the ANC’s caucus rejected an offer from the EFF to vote with them in order to amend the Constitution and to allow for the appropriation of land without compensation.

The ANC in Parliament has been at odds with views recently expressed by its president.

“The black parties should unite on this issue. We cannot fight about nothing," Zuma said on Friday when he appeared before the Council of Traditional Leaders.

His comments echoed those of EFF leader Julius Malema who called for black people to unite behind the proposal to amend the constitution to make land expropriation without compensation a reality.

Maphatsoe said before the MKMVA was previously disbanded, it was fighting for the “the land which was taken by force from our people”.

He also echoed the sentiments of those calling for the amendment of the Constitution, but said the ANC should be given the space to deliberate the issue at its policy conference.

“If it comes to a push, we can go for the amendment of our Constitution for the expropriation of land without compensation,” said Maphatsoe.

"We think maybe it [the ANC in Parliament] was meant to say can you give the ANC a chance to reflect on the matter when it goes to its policy conference, then maybe you can put the motion back into Parliament because we would have had a chance to canvas our members."

Unity with the MK Council

Agreements reached between the MKMVA and former commissars and generals of the ANC’s liberation army, under the umbrella MK Council, will also take centre stage over the weekend.

“There has been a meeting between ourselves and the MK national council, decisions which were taken must be adopted by the NEC [national executive committee] of the MKMVA,” said the association’s chairperson.

The council, led by former MKMVA general Siphiwe Nyanda, had raised concerns over the association’s involvement in factional battles within the ANC, its finances and whether or not it was fulfilling its role in looking after the welfare of former combatants.

The two had agreed to work together towards a conference, which was brought forward to May.

Maphatsoe said the NEC would decide on whether or not to adopt the agreements reached with the council.

A report in this regard will also be tabled at the meeting.

He said the MKMVA would not be discussing succession, as per the request of the ANC’s NEC.

“We have agreed that we respect the decisions of the NEC of the ANC, that we should not talk about succession now. We do speak about the principles of electing a leader in the ANC’s upcoming conference,” said Maphatsoe.