The Department of Military Veterans, together with the All-inclusive Ex-MK Conference Preparatory Committee, will host a conference of Ex-MK military veterans later this week in East London.
The Department said the theme of the conference is “Renewal, Unity, Welfare and Discipline” and takes place against the backdrop of Freedom month, when South Africans celebrate the date in which the first non-racial elections took place in 1994.
The conference will take place from the 28 to 30 April at the East London International Convention Centre (ICC) from 09:00.
The conference is entrusted with the responsibility of uniting combatants from both uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and Umkhonto we Sizwe National Council (MKNC) including the entire Ex- MK community under one umbrella. “The All Inclusive Conference therefore refers to a process that will involve fairly and impartially all ex-MK combatants being organized into one entity focused on preserving the good legacy it has, and imparting these stories to the younger generations,” the Department of Military Veterans said.
“After several attempts to unite the MK, to address challenges of their welfare, housing needs, health care, skilling and education support for military veterans and their dependents, it is envisaged that the conference will bring together all ex-MK combatants as a united force to chart a way forward to a brighter future for all those who sacrificed their youth in the battlefields engaged in activities against the apartheid regime. The conference will seek to generate interest among all MK veterans in the various detachments and internally trained cadres. It will sensitize them to the Department of Military Veteran’s database and verification process. Ex-MK combatants have been sensitized on who is eligible to attend the conference, through consultative programmes which took place in all provinces,” the DMV continued.
“It is hoped that this process of uniting ex uMkhonto we Sizwe combatants will lead to them sharing their rich history and stories with South Africans, relieving stories about heroic battles that rattled the pillars of apartheid and leading to its demise in Quito Carnavale, Wanki Sipolilo campaign and other successful battles fought inside the country,” the DMV stated.
The DMV said it is obliged to support military veterans and is mandated by the Military Veterans Act to honour and memorialize fallen and living military veterans and document their contribution to the liberation struggle of South Africa.
To continue to support military veterans, the Department is launching six military veterans books documenting their experiences and participation in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.