Disbanded Mkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association former spokesman Carl Niehaus has filed a formal complaint with the Department of Defense regarding the unprofessional manner in which interviews with MK military veterans were conducted by the Database Verification Committee and has denied that he was not trained as a freedom fighter in the MK.
On Thursday, The Vanir-exodus in an article titled “Carl the Toy Soldier?
Niehaus fails the Umkhonto we Sizwe reference test” reported that Niehaus apparently never really trained as a freedom fighter in the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), despite serving as a political prisoner for a time.
A defiant Niehaus said he would attend the military veterans elective conference, though apparently he couldn’t prove he was ever in MK.
The Veterans Verification Panel, chaired by retired General Enoch Mashoala, confirmed that: The The Vanir-exodus that Niehaus failed the verification test Monday in East London, Eastern Cape.
“The verification test is being done to determine if a person in our veteran database was a member of MK’s military wing. Carl Niehaus failed, he couldn’t tell the panel about his military credentials. He was never part of the MK and was never under any battalion or command.
In a lengthy statement on Friday, Niehaus said he had lodged an official complaint with Defense Minister and military veterans Thandi Modise and Deputy Defense Minister and military veterans, Thabang Makwetla.
“I have been informed by reliable sources that someone within the Database Verification Committee, who has been appointed to verify the bona fide trustworthiness of military veterans from Mkhonto we Sizwe to ensure that they are included in the Military Veterans Database, is responsible for the leaks to The Burgers and other media houses.”
Niehaus has denied that he was not trained as a freedom fighter in the MK.
“As stated in my formal letter of complaint, I appeared before the Database Verification Committee on Monday, March 7, 2022, to establish my bona fides for inclusion in the Military Veterans Database. Since the Database Verification Committee has indicated that they will not be in Gauteng again in the near future, I traveled to East London, in the Eastern Cape, specifically for the meeting.”
Niehaus in the statement then provides a long chat about the alleged abuse and the difficult process and interviews he undertook to establish his bona fides for inclusion in the Military Veterans Database.
“As for my interview with the Database Verification Committee, I am deeply saddened by the way the Database Verification Committee conducted the interview. In fact, it was not an interview, but turned into an interrogation session led by Database Verification Committee chairman, Major General Mashoala.”
Niehaus said he never claimed to have received all the necessary training for the operations he eventually conducted in the liberation struggle in the underground in South Africa.
“The circumstances of my recruitment and the fact that I continued to operate in South Africa made such training very difficult, if not impossible. It is an established fact, and it is well known that, nevertheless, as a young officer, who was 23 years old when I was arrested, I made it possible for me to carry out the duties assigned to me, with effort and dedication, under very difficult circumstances.”
Niehaus said that while the database verification process is still underway, more military veterans (particularly MK veterans associated with MKMVA) will be subjected to such abuse.
“This must not continue and I request that the necessary steps be taken to prevent this kind of abuse from continuing. I believe that Major General Mashoala is not an unbiased and competent person capable of continuing as chairman of the database verification committee, and that he should be immediately relieved of that important position and replaced by a person who the task of the Database Verification Commission in a competent, professional and dignified manner.”
Niehaus said he filed the complaint and expressed concerns not only because of his own personal experience during the interview process, which left him deeply troubled and humiliated, but also because he is aware of other complaints from MK veterans who have similarly mistreated during database verification Interviews.