Media statement by the president of MKMVA condemning the fake news attacks and character assassination attempts against comrade Carl Niehaus
11 June 2019
The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) is dismayed by the constant and malicious attacks that are being launched in both the social media and mainstream media, against our NEC member and National Spokesperson, comrade Carl Niehaus. There is a constant stream of half-truths, fake news and downright lies that are maliciously being disseminated against comrade Niehaus. This is nothing less than slander and character assassination.
The most recent wave of fake news and lies relate to fabricated allegations that comrade Niehaus was responsible for a tweet that went out on the Secretary General (SG) of the ANC’s official twitter account about the South African Reserve Bank, which led to the erroneous impression that the SG was countering the President’s media statement. Despite the fact that comrade Niehaus explained in detail that he is not at all involved in the management of the SG’s twitter account, and had no access to the account to either post or re-post anything on the SG’s behalf, the mainstream media (with specific reference to the Daily Maverick and the Sunday Times) still continued to publish fake news stories that he was responsible for the said tweet.
This was followed up by a further blatant fake news story that was published on the front page of the Sunday Times, last Sunday (8 June 2019), that comrade Niehaus was involved, together with the Secretary General of the ANC, in changing the NEC Lekgotla media statement with regards to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). This damaging front page fake news story was published despite comrade Niehaus’explicit denial that he was in any way whatsoever involved in changing the content of the media statement.
MKMVA is aware that these malicious fake news lies originate from members of the ANC, and even more disturbingly from senior members of the ANC in Luthuli House, and elsewhere, who should known better. We are also aware that the main target of these attacks is the Secretary General of the ANC, and that comrade Niehaus is being attacked, and his name besmirched, because of the good work that he is doing in the Office of the Secretary General. These attacks are informed and driven by jealousy and malicious factionalism of the worst kind.
MKMVA pledges our full support to comrade Niehaus, and acknowledges the valuable contribution that he makes to MKMVA as our National Spokesperson, as well the work that he is doing in the Office of the Secretary General as an employee there. The employment of comrade Niehaus in the Office of the Secretary General (SGO) was done with the full consent of the National Office Bearers (NOB’s) of MKMVA, who was consulted by the Secretary General when he decided to employ comrade Niehaus, and we fully and proudly support that deployment, by our fellow MKMVA cadre.
We are happy that since comrade Niehaus was employed in the Office of the Secretary General’s Office he made a visible and positive contribution to the work of the SGO, especially during the ANC election campaign. We are proud that one of our own MKMVA cadres is making such a valuable contribution in the Secretary General’s Office, which is the engine room of the ANC.
MKMVA was attacked in the media when comrade Niehaus was elected to the National Executive of MKMVA at our 5th National Conference, which was held on the 8 - 11 June 2017. As President of MKMVA I responded, at the time, by saying that whatever mistakes comrade Niehaus made in the past, and had put behind him, will not prevent MKMVA from acknowledging his longstanding ANC membership, and contribution to the liberation struggle which included serving 10 years of a 15 year prison sentence for High Treason, because of his membership of the ANC when it was still a banned organization, as well as for his underground activities as a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). I also expressed the view that comrade Niehaus, with his unwavering commitment to the full liberation of all South African, his long history in the ANC, and the undisputed talents and abilities that he has, still has a valuable contribution to make to our Mother-body the ANC and to MKMVA. Since then I have been proved correct in this assertion.
MKMVA is disturbed that there are members of the ANC that are so narrow minded and factional in their approach, that they constantly try to undermine and destroy fellow comrades, in this specific instance comrade Niehaus. They are a showing themselves to be unforgiving and harsh in a manner that is self-serving and alien to the culture of comradeship and self-correction that is part of the DNA of the revolutionary character of the ANC. These comrades who behave in this manner know very well that they themselves have many times been given second and even third chances, and if the harsh and forgiving approach that they now apply to comrade Niehaus would be applied to them, they will not past the test, and will fail dismally. Their continued deployment in the ANC, some even in senior positions, is solely due to the magnanimity and forgiving spirit of their fellow comrades, without which they would long ago have fallen by the wayside. They should be ashamed of themselves.
MKMVA reiterates our full support for, and trust in, comrade Niehaus, and call for the unwarranted attacks on him, and the lies that are being devised and distributed against him, to stop forthwith. This kind of factional and divisive behaviour is not in the interest of the ANC, and the pursuit of unity that every single member of the ANC should be dedicated to. We concur with the calls that President Ramaphosa, and the Secretary General, made for unity and discipline.
Issued by Kebby Maphatsoe, President of MKMVA, 11 June 2019