Performance targets set by the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) in its effort to assist former and retired soldiers all, with one exception, fell below half in the 2019/20 financial year.
This was made public by DMV acting Director General, retired General Derrick Mgwebi, in his annual performance report to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV).
As far as the DMV’s overall performance is concerned, the PCDMV heard nine of 20 targeted performance areas – a 45% overall achievement – was met. National Treasury funding to the DMV for the financial year was R652 million of which R477 million or 73% was spent.
As far as delivery of benefits is concerned, Mgwebi’s report indicates 18 390 military veterans were approved for access to healthcare services with a further 148 receiving a once-off compensation payment. Still on healthcare and the overall wellbeing of the country’s military veterans’ corps, 643 retired soldiers and their dependents received counselling and treatment.
On educational support for veterans and their dependents, the Mgwebi presentation acknowledges this particular benefit is in high demand resulting in “cost pressures” for the DMV.
The presentation indicates 4 449 cases of assistance with education. Of these 2 832 were for basic education and 1 617 for tertiary education.
A hundred and sixty-three veterans received what is termed “businesses access to empowerment opportunities (sic)” with a further 900 “provided with approved funding for skills development programmes”.
In support of government’s stated aim to improve the quality of household life via sustainable human settlements, the DMV provided 447 “newly built houses” for veterans in the 2019/20 financial year. Also on the housing front, the DMV “rescued” 28 military veterans’ houses that were “in distress on bond”.
As far as nation building and social cohesion are concerned, the DMV was and remains active on two fronts – burial claims and “honouring and memorialising fallen cadres”.
Ninety-seven percent of burial claims were settled within 30 days of submission providing support to bereaved families.
“Initial consultations with key stakeholders to begin the process of honouring and memorialising fallen cadres and acknowledging the SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries that supported and hosted South Africa’s liberation struggle movements, during the liberation struggle in South Africa started in Botswana, Angola, Lesotho and Zambia” were initiated, according to Mgwebi’s presentation. This effort relates to promotion of military veterans’ heritage as well as honouring and memorialising veterans in alignment with an executive authority priority package as part of government’s 2030 National Development Plan (NDP).