Mabuza on third visit to North West military veterans


Deputy President David Mabuza, charged with bettering the lives of military veterans, today (Tuesday, 12 July) makes his third visit to North West as chair of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s task team on military veterans.

It is the South African number two’s second visit to Potchefstroom, widely accepted as the military capital of North West, following provincial capital Mafikeng in May.

To date Mabuza has been hands-on with military veterans and their various associations and organisations as well as provincial governments in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Free State.

A statement advising of Mabuza’s intention to be at the SA Army Support Base in Potchefstroom notes the North West visit is in “a quest to find lasting solutions to address challenges raised by military veterans”.

Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla, widely seen as government’s most senior appointment for veterans affairs, accompanies Mabuza and “senior government officials”.

Today’s meeting will “assess progress by the national and North West provincial governments” to provide among others, housing and healthcare benefits, for old soldiers.

In June, a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian took government to task in the wake of it indicating there were “significant advances against a huge backlog” in dealing with issues and problems experienced by veterans.

Maliyakhe Shelembe, official opposition shadow minister for Makwetla’s military veterans’ portfolio, said policies at the Department of Military Veterans (DMV), including transport compensation and pensions, were two of many still unresolved. This, he said, was an indictment of the DMV, headed by director general Irene Mpolweni, in view of the Military Veterans Act being on the Statute Book for over 10 years.

Reports have it the DMV database lists over 80 000 veterans with an increase expected as a long-awaited database verification programme takes effect.