MK veterans get jobs after storming city hall
THE eThekwini Municipality has kowtowed to strong-arm tactics of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and awarded jobs to more than 80 people claiming to have served in the armed wing of the ANC.
More than 100 MKMVA members stormed the City Hall on Tuesday, demanding jobs. Following this, Durban mayor Zandile Gumede allegedly issued a directive instructing the municipality’s human resources department to award jobs to MKMVA members who had previously applied for employment.
City manager Sipho Nzuza confirmed on Friday that 15 MKMVA members would start working tomorrow as full-time general assistants in the city’s Department of Water and Sanitation and another 36 would be allocated jobs, effective next month, in the Department of Roads and Stormwater Maintenance and 30 in the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Nzuza said this was in line with the national Military Veterans Act which stated that municipalities, government departments and stateowned entities should support MK veterans and their dependants by providing jobs, advice on business opportunities, access to municipal health services, housing and other relevant support.
The names and credentials of those claiming to be MK veterans who have been given jobs in the city have not been publicly disclosed by either the municipality or the MKMVA. The 15 MKMVA members who start work tomorrow refused to be interviewed.
“There is a list of all those who were verified as genuine members of the military,” said Nzuza. “I will be approaching other government institutions to come on board and provide job opportunities for them because the municipality at the moment doesn’t have vacancies available for all of them.”
MKMVA provincial spokesperson Themba Mavundla welcomed the latest move, claiming its members had been waiting a long time for the city to deliver on its promise to provide them with jobs.
This week’s decision is likely to spark an outcry among people who successfully applied for the same positions that are now being taken up by MKMVA members.
A well-informed source within the municipality said: “The problem is that some people have gone through the normal recruitment process. They passed the tests and interviews and were told they had got the job and would be starting next month. HR people will now have to go back and tell them they will no longer be starting work because their positions have been taken by MK people.
“This whole thing is a mess. People who were supposed to start work have a right to even take the municipality to court.”
The MKMVA’s demands for city jobs comes after its members invaded several housing projects, most recently in Pietermaritzburg and Port Shepstone.
Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said while the demands of genuine veterans for jobs and housing were justifiable, he questioned the MKMVA’s tactics. He warned of unrest if eThekwini kept entertaining forceful demands from organisations such as MKMVA and Amadel-angokubona, a business forum that has used political connections and strong-arm tactics to land tenders and government contracts.
“It fuels this notion that for you to be listened to there must be a form of protest that is beyond peaceful,” said Mnguni.
“If we look at it in the context of eThekwini politics, it’s a growing trend which is a danger. If the municipality keeps on entertaining that culture, it might just cement great social unrest in the city and that would no be good for governance because clearly opportunities will no longer be transferred to society in a fair and equitable manner.
“It would be based on who makes the most violent demands.”
Mnguni said Durban’s mayor should be engaging with other government spheres in addressing the needs of MK veterans.
Mayoral spokesperson Mthunzi Gumede said eThekwini had established a dedicated office that supported MK veterans.
“The mayor is looking at capacitating that office to become efficient. As the city, we recognise the role played by them (MK veterans) and we are committed to ensure that they are looked after as per the policy,” said Gumede.
Philani Mthembu, an MKMVA regional executive committee member, said the organisation would wait patiently “until all of its members were taken care of by government”. “We have waited for 22 years to get jobs, houses and other needs. We do not mind waiting until all the needs of our members are met.”
The MKMVA has reported that it has 20 000 members. Mthembu said it had 750 members in Durban.
National MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus applauded Gumede for being the first mayor to open a special office for MK veterans. However, he said the manner in which MKMVA members had expressed their demands in Durban on Tuesday was “a bit problematic”.
“I think comrades (MK veterans) should have done it a little bit differently considering that the mayor is really trying her best,” he said.
National MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe called for tough action to be taken against people masquerading as MK veterans, demanding municipal jobs and interfering with government housing projects.
ANGERED: National Military Veterans Association chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe has called for tough action to be taken against people masquerading as MK veterans.