Internal Affairs

Mabuza: Government committed to resolving military vets challenges

Deputy President David Mabuza has assured military veterans that government remains committed to providing them with care and other benefits, including housing and a pension, to ensure they lead a life of integrity and respect.

“It is for this reason that President Cyril Ramaphosa established the Presidential Task Team on the affairs of Military Veterans in the latter part of 2020, under the leadership of the Deputy President, to tackle the concerns raised on the livelihoods of military veterans,” Mabuza said on Thursday.

The Deputy President, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans, visited the Western Cape to hold engagements with military veteran associations.

So far, the team has already visited six provinces — Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga and North West.

“In our initial meetings, all Premiers were called to assist in the amicable resolution of the challenges faced by military veterans. We believe that provinces have a critical role to play in supporting military veterans, as they are closer to where our veterans live,” the Deputy President said.

Since then, Mabuza said, they have made an effort to interact directly with military veterans in their respective home provinces to address key issues that need to be resolved.

While government has been working around the clock to cater for the veterans’ needs, Mabuza acknowledged some obstacles that caused delays in the delivery of benefits.

The Deputy President said the COVID-19 pandemic and constrained fiscal environment have had an impact on the Department of Military Veterans’ operations and performance. In addition, he said implementation of big impact projects was also awaiting approval, while the management of the department’s database posed a challenge as well.

“Despite the difficulties we have encountered, we have made significant progress in addressing some of your challenges, including those faced by military veterans in the Western Cape,” he told veterans.

Housing

Mabuza said government is currently amending the Military Veterans Act to extend the provision of housing support to widows and dependants of the deceased of those who served in the military struggle.

“We are confident that the process will be completed soon.”

In addition, he said improvements of housing floor plans and the remedial work on defective houses are underway in a number of housing projects, including in Belhar, Cape Town.

Pension

The Deputy President said a milestone was reached when the Presidential Task Team approved the Military Veterans Pension Policy.

The department has made budget provisions over the medium-term to ensure that military veterans receive their pensions.

Currently, the department is working on regulations to operationalise the implementation of the pension benefit provisions.

“We are aware of the deficit that needs to be urgently filled by this policy, and we appeal to our veterans to be patient with the ministry, which is currently preoccupied with the task,” Mabuza said.

Meanwhile, he said his team is ready to assist the department in accessing additional resources to better serve this constituency.

Source: South African Government News Agency