By: Sello Theletsane
JOHANNESBURG- The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has on Wednesday expressed its
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.
According to the MKMVA, 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 recognized 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,” said the MKMVA.
“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”.
According to the MKMVA, many of their 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 recognized, 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
Furthermore, the MKMVA said it fully understands the deep levels of frustration, anger, and bitterness that its 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 Non-Statutory 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 mobilization 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”, said the movement.
In addition the MKMVA added: “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 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 re-ranking 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!”.
The MKMVA said that it has since resolved in its commitment to ensure that the ranking promotions that its 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.”