Less than a month after engaging military veterans in the North West province, Deputy President David Mabuza is today (Thursday, 2 June) again in the province on the same business. This time he is in the unofficial military capital – Potchefstroom – as opposed to the provincial capital Mafikeng in mid-May.
A statement from his office has it the follow-up meeting is “in line with a directive for the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans (PTTMV) to urgently return to North West”. The aim of this visit, as with those to veterans in other provinces, is “to find lasting solutions to challenges facing military veterans”. It takes place at the SA Army Support Base in Potchefstroom.
Today’s visit is the fifth by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s point man for military veterans’ issues. It follows – in chronological order – Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West, for the first time.
“Government, through the efforts of the PTTMV, is committed to delivery of socio-economic support services to military veterans and their dependents. Over the medium term, the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) placed its focus on improving efficiencies in the delivery of key benefits such as housing, education, training, skills development, access to healthcare as well implementing initiatives to support entrepreneurial opportunities for military veterans,” the statement in support of Mabuza’s Potchefstroom visit reads.
This will see the meeting assess progress at national and North West provincial government level “in particular” as regards socio-economic benefits for old soldiers and their dependents.
As the PTTMV goes about its work, it appears the same level of commitment is not there from parliamentarians sitting on the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV). A meeting scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday, 1 June) took place but no presentations were made or debated as “key people” were absent. A top agenda item was a progress report compiled by the DMV on the advancement of military veterans’ affairs, in line with the PTTMV’s mandate.