The Presidential task team on military veterans (PTTMV) roadshow continues its schedule of engagements with old soldiers and is today (Tuesday, 7 June) in Mpumalanga.
Headed by South Africa’s second citizen, Deputy President David Mabuza, on instruction from President Cyril Ramaphosa, the task team is at the SA Army Support Base in Mbombela “in pursuit of mechanisms to address challenges raised by military veterans” according to a statement from Mabuza’s office.
The Mpumalanga stop is the fifth for Mabuza and his team of men and women which includes Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Thabang Makwetla.
In the first week of June the task team undertook its second visit to North West in Potchefstroom, widely accepted as the province’s military capital. The visit came less than a month after the task team was in the provincial capital Mafikeng.
Other provinces ticked off the task team calling list to date are Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo. The statement from Mabuza’s office has it there have to date been three provincial consultations with advanced planned underway for the remaining five.
Apart from Mabuza interacting with military veterans he and his team are on the receiving end of feedback on how grievances and problems are “taken up by government departments”.
The statement further indicates the “direct consultations” allow government to “assess support and services” for old soldiers and their dependents.
Last month the Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian tasked with the military veterans oversight task, Maliyakhe Shelembe, took Makwetla to task for saying government was making “significant advances against a huge backlog” in military veterans’ affairs and issues.
Shelembe said Department of Military Veterans (DMV) policies on transport compensation and pensions were two of many still unresolved. He added this was an indictment of the DMV, headed by director general Irene Mpolweni, in view of the fact that the Military Veterans Act has been on the Statute Book for over 10 years.
It is reported there are over 80 000 veterans on the DMV database. The number is expected to increase by a thousand a year over the next three years as the database verification programme takes effect.