Mabuza singles out military veterans in his Christmas message

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South African Deputy President David Mabuza wore his presidential military veterans’ task team cap for part of a wide-ranging Christmas message to South Africans.

As an introduction to the veterans’ portion of his thousand three hundred plus words message the South African number two said: “In our collective memory and history, the liberation war veterans’ contribution to the fight for freedom and democracy are imprinted as a real catalyst for mass resistance that helped usher in the promise of a better South Africa”.

“At the dawn of democracy their selfless service in support of our freedom forms part of our heritage as a peaceful, democratic, and human rights-centred state.

“To honour their contributions and uphold their dignity, we are relentlessly ensuring their socio-economic rights and the well-being of their families are taken care of.”

Mabuza’s words come days after Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise and her deputy Thabang Makwetla said veterans’ pensions would not be paid this month (December) because of “delays in the administrative process”. This includes Parliament in the form of the National Assembly (NA) to have sight of the draft pension regulations and pension benefit access form for qualifying military veterans. The documentation, according to a statement, was tabled in the NA “early” in December and will “legalise operationalisation of the pension pay-out”.

The Department of Military Veterans is working “around the clock” to ensure “soonest possible” payment of the pension benefit.

Other areas of national interest raised by Mabuza in his message included stating 2022 was “a unique, difficult and challenging year” with South Africans facing “severe disruptions in many facets of life” with the livelihoods of many marginalised people “paralysed”. He cited floods in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West along with the “cancers” of sexism, tribalism, racism, and ethnicity undermining social cohesion.