DMV underachieves in delivering to military veterans


The Department of Military Veterans (DMV) has underachieved in its performance for the final three quarters of 2021, and only managed to achieve less than half of its objectives, including verifying veterans and building houses.

In a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) on Wednesday, the DMV said for the period 1 April to 31 December 2021, it only achieved 42% of its objectives.

For the period, it had aimed to include 2 250 approved non-statutory forces members into the military veterans database, but only 789 were included.

A total of 355 veterans houses were to be supplied, but only 28 were provided with newly built houses. From this year, 20 veterans are due to be approved for a mortgage bond subsidy, rising to 25 in 2023/24 and 30 in 2024/25.

Two hundred military veterans were supposed to participate in a pension benefit pilot project, with the cumulative target for quarter three of 2021 being 150, but “no achievement has been reported as at the end of the quarter.”

Similarly, 200 veterans were supposed to take part in a subsidised public transport benefit pilot project, and “the target was planned to be achieved in full in quarter two, and no achievement has been reported.”

The DMV admitted that the subsidised public transport and pension initiatives did not proceed as planned last year, and “this will have a negative impact on the delivery of services to military veterans.”

“Based on the third quarter financial statements, the spending patterns of the department indicate that the service delivery programmes are behind with their spending. As of quarter three (31 December 2021), the department has only spent 43.9% of the socio-economic support budget and 43.4% of the empowerment and stakeholder management with an overall 47.6% of the department’s budget spent, which could have a negative impact on key service delivery,” the DMV stated.

The underspending of the department may also impact the department negatively in terms of budget cuts by the National Treasury.

More money is being allocated to the DMV – its budget for 2022/23 is R666 million, and this will drop to R663 million in 2023/24 before increasing to R692 million the following year.

On the issue of the military veterans database, the presentation to the PCDMV sated, “The issue of a credible military database is critical and should be addressed urgently to assist the department in achieving its mandate of delivering benefits to deserving military veterans. The department has had numerous complaints relating to service delivery to military veterans; the above issues may worsen the unrest of the military veterans.”

There are more than 80 000 veterans registered on the military veterans database, and this is expected to increase by 1 000 a year over the next three years.

Another presentation to the DMV, prepared by DMV Director General Irene Mpolweni, on the DMV’s annual performance plan for 2022/23, listed some of the challenges the department is facing, including dependency on other departments for service delivery, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delay in providing land for military veterans houses, completed houses being vandalized, the illegal invasions of houses, and delays with approving beneficiaries and the military veterans database.

The DMV provides numerous benefits to veterans, including housing, bursaries, and healthcare services. In 2020/21, it provided 2 779 bursaries to veterans and their dependants, down from 4 449 the previous year and 8 089 in 2018/19.

In 2020/21, 18 500 veterans were approved to access healthcare services, and this is planned to increase to more than 20 000 a year. In addition, 493 military veterans were provided with dedicated counselling, 26 received a compensation benefit and 536 were authorized to access healthcare services.

Military veterans and their dependants are eligible for skills development programmes, and in 2018/19, 197 were approved for these programmes. This went up to 900 the following year, before dropping to 607 in 2020/21. By 2024/25, the DMV hopes to approve 3 500 veterans and dependants a year for skills development programmes. Similarly, the DMV hopes to provide several dozen veterans a year with access to employment placement opportunities.