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MK vets defend high-level security for Dlamini Zuma

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has defended the high-level security provided to presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in Kimberley at the weekend, although she is no longer an MKMVA member or a government official.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

According to the MKMVA, its president, spokesperson and officials are entitled to protection from its soldiers.

A strong contingent of VIP protectors and an army of MKMVA soldiers formed a human shield around Dlamini Zuma when she arrived to deliver the Freedom Day Charter lecture at the Mayibuye Centre in the city on Saturday.

She was also accompanied by the MKMVA to a blanket handover at the Galeshewe Association for the Care of the Aged and Disabled home on Friday.

A MKMVA veteran indicated that the organisation had agreed to provide Dlamini Zuma with protection as it had endorsed her as its presidential candidate.

“Although she is not currently a member, she is a former MK soldier who was in exile.”

ANC Frances Baard regional spokesperson, Ali Diteme, pointed out that they were not involved in Dlamini Zuma’s travel arrangements.

“We can’t speak on behalf of the MKMVA and Dr Nkosazana, please feel free to contact them,” said Diteme.

He added that they were unable to quantify the costs of the programme nor were they able to disclose the cost of the accommodation and transport of MKMVA soldiers to the event.

“Most of the funds came from donations from sympathetic business people.”

Meanwhile, the SACP, which announced on the weekend that it would contest future elections, received a tongue lashing from ANC Women’s League president and Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, during the Freedom Charter lecture.

While the ANC Frances Baard region insisted that Dlamini Zuma’s visit was not a political campaign, supporters used every opportunity to sing her praises as the best person to lead the country.

Dlamini lambasted the SACP for discrediting Dlamini Zuma as a leader.

She condemned “highly sophisticated comrades” within the SACP for not recognising Dlamini Zuma as a champion for gender equality and women’s emancipation.

“Today they say Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is no longer a leader and that if she is appointed it would amount to re-appointing Jacob Zuma. They are showing high levels of patriarchy and strong reactionary tendencies,” said Dlamini.

She pointed out that the ANCWL did not only want a woman to lead the country, but that they wanted a “tried and tested leader” that had grown up within the structures of the ANC.

“Dlamini Zuma has a golden hand, she brings about change wherever she goes. If she is voted in, it will be the first time in the 105-year history of the ANC that it is led by a woman president.”

Dlamini indicated that 60 percent of ANC members were women.

“The time has come for the ANC to be led by a woman who was part of the struggle. Women are considered good enough to manage their homes and yet they are not regarded as good enough to lead their own country. We have chosen the best among the best. Dlamini Zuma is a hard worker.”

ANCWL deputy president, Ntombela Sefora Hixsonia, former minister of energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson and former premier Hazel Jenkins, sat alongside Dlamini Zuma on the podium.

T-shirts bearing the ANC emblem and the words “NDZ Madam President” were handed out at the event, while supporters were bused in from Warrenton, Barkly West and the Phokwane municipal district and surrounding areas.

Ten buses that were supposed to collect ANC members in the Phokwane district apparently never arrived and another service provider had to be sourced, resulting in an almost two-hour delay before proceedings started.

The Freedom Charter lecture was organised by the ANC Frances Baard region at the same time that an OR Tambo games and lecture was taking place elsewhere in the city.

The OR Tambo games and lecture was organised by ANC Frances Baard members, who indicated that they supported Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma.

Dlamini Zuma highlighted the need to preserve the tripartite alliance.

“We cannot afford to destroy this organisation. The leader of the alliance must make sure that every member of the alliance is strong, whether it is the SACP or Cosatu. We cannot walk away from the alliance but must unite in order to keep the ANC alive for future generations. What will the country be without the ANC?

“If there is no ANC, the DA will take us back and we cannot allow that we must defend the ANC.”

She pointed out that everyone had a right to contest the presidential race.

“In the ANC, if you stand and win you must embrace even those who did not vote for you. If you loose, you must support the democratically elected leader.”

During her address, she spoke out against corruption and urged for the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.

“After 20 years of democracy, only a small percentage of black-owned businesses are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The majority of people are excluded from the mainstream economy. You cannot sustain political power without economic power. This is why the ANC adopted the policy of radical economic transformation.”

Dlamini Zuma also called for the acceleration of land distribution.

“The state owns 14 percent of the land while 79 percent of the land is owned privately. The land must be returned to us. This will be done within the ambit of the law, but the law does not come from heaven, it comes from us.”

She called for free schooling “across the board” and urged for a skills revolution to open the floodgates of learning

“No learner should be denied an education. We must make farming attractive for young people.” IOL