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Pre-screening finds military veterans housing needs database compromised

Military Veterans housing pre-screeningTwo years ago the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) set up a housing needs database which identified 21 411 potential beneficiaries, but pre-screening saw more than 70% disqualified.

This was brought to the attention of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) during a joint presentation by Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Kebby Maphatsoe’s department and the Department of Human Settlements.

Acting DMV director-general Max Ozinksy is reported by the Parliamentary Communications Service as saying the 21 411 potential housing beneficiaries identified were made up of 16 800 non-statutory force (NSF) veterans and 4 611 former SA Defence Force (SADF) members. Pre-screening with the assistance of Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s Department of Human Settlements saw just over 76% disqualified.

The 16 421 disqualifications came from 5 722 names on the database identified as being dead, 844 with invalid identification documentation, 6 336 already held title deeds, 2 931 received RDP housing subsidies and 538 earned more than the R125 000 a year threshold.

The total number of veterans qualifying for housing is 4 990 with Gauteng having the largest number – 1 020 – followed by Eastern Cape (631) and KwaZulu-Natal (411).

Among challenges facing the departments tasked with providing housing for the country’s military veterans are disputes by representative associations, including the SA National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA), which reportedly “refuses to sign off on beneficiary lists”.

Another challenge comes with beneficiaries not living close to planned housing projects and refusing to move. There has also been illegal occupation of houses built specifically for military veterans and “in some cases, details were incomplete or veterans were untraceable”.

Interventions to overcome obstacles include “mapping” beneficiaries and locating them close to “active housing projects”; a national circular to guide provinces in the application of regulations, particularly rejected cases; and media campaigns aimed at veterans with either incomplete records or who are untraceable.

The committee indicated an oversight visit would enable it “to get first-hand experience of the challenges faced”. It also suggested both DMV and Human Settlements involve provincial members of executive committees tasked with housing to assist.