The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) is deeply disturbed and angered by the continuing delays in the promotion of members of the former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and other Non-Statutory Forces (NSF) members, to senior ranks in the South African Police Service.
This is a matter that has now been dragging on since the formation of the new South African Police Service (SAPS), when in the amalgamation/integration process the members of the so-called Non-Statutory Forces (NSF) were given a raw deal, and their lifelong dedication to the liberation of our people were not recognised as years of service, and they consequently ended up being employed in humiliatingly low ranks within SAPS.
This situation was made worse by the aberration that the members of the former apartheid police force were retained in their senior ranks. In reality there was no equal and fair integration of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the members of the former liberation armies – with specific reference to ex-MK combatants, who are the majority of the NSF members – were simply absorbed into the structures, ranking hierarchy, and culture of the old apartheid police force.
This was one of the worst decisions of the negotiation process, and led to the humiliation of proud liberation soldiers, and the destruction of the hopes and lives of many of our members and their families. It led to the entirely unacceptable situation that senior ex-combatants of MK had to serve under the command of former apartheid police officers, who were their former enemies – and in some instances have been involved in the most heinous crimes against them, including having arrested and tortured them, and having killed their fellow comrades.
Many of our members could not take this humiliation, and resigned from the entirely inappropriate junior positions that they were assigned to. As a consequence many ex-MK combatants ended up becoming unemployed, and this caused severe hardships for their families. Those who stayed on in the SAPS, despite the humiliation that their long years of dedicated service were disregarded, in the hope that justice will eventually prevail, have during the past 26 years of our democracy been deeply disappointed. Because of their advanced age many of these ex-MK members have ended up never seeing their service to the liberation of our country recognised, and they ended up retiring in very low ranks and with small, entirely inadequate, pensions.
Other comrades passed away without ever having seen their hopes fulfilled, and leaving their families behind destitute. MKMVA fully understands the deep levels of frustration, anger, and bitterness that our members who are still in the SAPS, as well as those who have resigned in frustration, are experiencing. They have been, and continue to be, subjected to gross injustice and exploitation. This is a situation that has dragged on for far too long, and it cannot be allowed to continue any longer.
For the last couple of years there has been an ongoing process of trying to correct these gross injustices, and to promote ex-MK combatants, and members of the other NonStatutory Forces (NSF), to more senior ranks that they are deserving of, and to which they should have been promoted a long time ago. These NSF members that are due for promotion are highly deserving and patriotic South Africans, who have proved their commitment to a non-racial and democratic society. As former members of MK, and the other liberation armies, they have proved their preparedness to selflessly serve their people, and there can be no doubt that they will continue to serve our country, and make a critical contribution to the fight against crime.
They have also proved themselves to be committed to work for national reconciliation, and to heal the deep wounds of the past inflicted by apartheid brutality and numerous atrocities. This urgent and most deserving process of improving their rankings within the SAPS, has for the past couple of years been frustrated, and perpetually delayed, by the racist opposition of the Solidarity Trade Union (Solidarity). In doing so Solidarity launched blatant racist attacks on our members. They abused social media to spread malicious lies against our former liberation fighters in the employ of SAPS. In fact their mobilisation against the Non-Statutory Force members inside the structures of SAPS has been vicious and relentless, and caused increased racial tension among members of SAPS and undermined its efficient functioning.
In addition Solidarity launched a spurious court application opposing the ranking promotions of NSF members. In the process of having launched this application they requested access to sensitive and confidential classified information about the proposed ranks for NSF members – specifically the names of those SAPS members who are due for promotion. Solidarity claimed that they needed such information in order to prepare their submissions to court in opposition to the promotions.
However, instead of adhering to the letter and spirit of the access that they were granted by the court to the said information, they leaked the information to the media. This was done with the deliberate intention to try and create internal resentment and strife among the members of SAPS. In having done so Solidarity acted illegally and in contempt of the court’s ruling. These attacks prove Solidarity to be reactionary, and must be understood in the context of their persistent racist, and white supremacist, attitudes.
It is deeply painful, and it angers MKMVA, that liberation fighters who have dedicated their lives to the liberation of our people, and made huge personal sacrifices, are now being denigrated and called all kinds of names.
We have not forgotten that many of the members of Solidarity were the benefactors of apartheid, and defended apartheid to such an extent that they actually served in the security forces of the old apartheid regime. As such they brutally oppressed, tortured, and killed black South Africans, while systematically enforcing apartheid. The hands of many of the members of Solidarity are still dripping with the blood of our people, yet they see it fit to arrogantly spread outrageous lies about true liberation fighters. These vicious lies are spread while it is on record that our members were incarcerated in apartheid prisons as political prisoners, and some were actually on death row.
In contrast to the heroic sacrifices that our members made for the liberation of our people, some Solidarity members were actually members of the notorious security police branch. They were the ones who arrested and tortured our members, and who imprisoned them. All these heinous crimes they committed in the name of defending racism and apartheid, but now they want to arrogantly pass judgement on us!
We will never tolerate such insensitive and arrogant behaviour! The spurious obfuscation and delaying tactics that Solidarity continues to indulge in through their court applications, opposing the ranking promotions of NSF members, dragged on for long enough. These court actions by Solidarity have now delayed the reranking process in the SAPS for years. MKMVA will not allow them to continue to prevent our members from receiving the recognition that is due to them.
Justice delayed is justice denied! MKMVA is resolved in our commitment to ensure that the ranking promotions that our members, and all other NSF members, are entitled to will proceed without further delay. We will certainly not allow the racists of Solidarity to stand in our way. We have requested the members of MKMVA in the SAPS to provide us with all their grievances in writing, and it is our intention to engage with comrade Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police, on an urgent basis to address all of these. We will also approach the Portfolio Committee on Police in the Parliament of South Africa to appear before the Portfolio Committee, and to formally make a presentation in order to secure their urgent intervention.
Our MKMVA members in the SAPS, and indeed all NSF members, can be assured of our unwavering support, and commitment to see these matters resolved as a matter of the utmost urgency. It is indeed our revolutionary task to do so, and MKMVA will not rest until our members receive the full recognition that is due to them, and are promoted to the senior ranks that they deserve.
Issued by MKMVA