More than a quarter of a century into South Africa’s democratic era and some groups still maintain they are not included in the country’s military structures specifically the national defence force and the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).
Two – the Khoisan Nation Self-Defence Unit (KNSDU) and the SA Cape Corps Military Veterans Association (SACCMVA) – this week presented reasons for their inclusion to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV).
In its presentation the KNSDU indicated the disbanding of what was the SA Coloured Corps (SACC) in 1992 meant many current KNSDU members could not integrate into what was to become the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) in 1994. They also received no assistance as far as reskilling or being offered alternative employment was concerned.
Fast forward 10 years and the KNSDU applied to be integrated, going as far as the Public Protector, only to lose in court.
The unit then drafted what it terms the Khoisan Soldiers Integration Bill in 2018 as a means to recognition and hopefully inclusion as part of the SANDF.
In closing the KNSDU pleaded for itself and the other seven forces that now constitute the national defence force, for either enabling legislation or amending its bill, to include the unit and have its personnel “enjoy equal opportunities and benefits”.
In its presentation to the PCDMV, SACCMVA pointed out it is the officially recognised military veterans association representing former SACC combatants. It also indicated “little” official engagement and progress in the two years since the association was officially recognised. There has been no notice in the Government Gazette and its “best efforts” to set up an institutional framework with the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) failed.
The association hopes the Parliamentary oversight committee will assist in establishing what it calls “a plan of full participation and representation for all SA National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA) and DMV benefits, structures, events and procedures”.
SACCMVA also wants a review of initial SACC integration and demobilisation as the process was “grossly inadequate” with an offer to former SACC soldiers not integrated to now join the SANDF.