Deputy President David Mabuza told military veterans in Bloemfontein government is “committed to resolving their challenges and giving them quality services”.
The South African number two, named by President Cyril Ramaphosa to head a presidential task team (PTT) focused solely on military veterans, is on a provincial round of visits focussing on veterans and their problems. To date this year he has been in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, North West and now Free State, leaving four provinces – and their resident military veterans – still to be seen.
Speaking to military veterans in Bloemfontein, SAnews reports Mabuza saying: “We are making progress. I am not happy about the pace we are taking, the speed at which we are moving and I’m sure as we go we are going to pick up the pace. We call on military veterans of all associations to work with us and I can assure there is a clear determination from our side to deal with your issues”.
According to the government news agency, Mabuza acknowledged the task team was “inundated with stories” about veterans’ problems.
“We hear stories about your suffering. We hear stories about the suffering of your dependents who are supposed to benefit. Bear with us, we are here. Brick by brick, step by step we are going to resolve your challenges,” SAnews reports him telling the military veterans’ gathering.
Another job the task team has taken on is “sharpening” the work of the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).
“The department must up its game. There is no room for us to fail. We will work with the necessary speed and vigour with all stakeholders, with all spheres of government to ensure the quality of services is of a good standard.
“The DMV will be beefed up and supported to be able to deliver the services you require,” he told veterans.
He explained the task team broadened its scope to deal with challenges facing military veterans and appealed to military veterans to undergo verification. Mabuza indicated an appeals board is being set up for those unhappy with the verification process.
“We request you support this process because the sooner we get done with the verification, the better for all of us. We want to know how many military veterans [there are] and we can only do that if we allow the verification process to happen.
“We want to know how many are from the statutory forces and how many are from the non-statutory forces. We want to know how many received benefits and how many not. We want to know how many of your children are receiving education support, or health support. We must know so where we are lagging behind, we must improve,” he said.