Military veterans “not forgotten”, will receive pensions – Deputy President


Both President Cyril Ramaphosa and his point man on military veterans, Deputy President David Mabuza, used this week’s Presidency budget vote to remind South Africa’s military veterans they are not forgotten.

Ramaphosa was brief with his budget vote speech referring only to Mabuza as “delegated to deal with the longstanding challenges former liberation combatant continue to experience”.

These “challenges” saw South Africa’s first citizen, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), name his number two as leader of a presidential task team (PTT) focussed solely on military veterans’ affairs.

In an address to the National Assembly (NA) in support of the Presidency budget vote, Mabuza used the phrase “giving dignity to military veterans” to introduce the old soldier component.

He told parliamentarians: “Even in the context of a history marked by intense conflict and fighting, our nation owes veterans sincere gratitude for choosing peace over war. Veterans are the pillar of our nation because they sacrificed themselves for our country”.

As part of what he called “maximising the contribution” of veterans his PTT has overseen finalisation of a pension policy for military veterans.

“To fully implement this policy, a process is underway to conclude the beneficiary verification allowing for quicker turnaround time and aiding government in managing military veterans’ records.”

On the thorny issue of a comprehensive military veterans’ database Mabuza, using the world “profiling”, noted a lack of it “hinders implementation of programmes designed to improve their [veterans] living conditions”.

This will be addressed working in tandem with the country’s nine provincial governments to “expedite profiling of ex-combatants to endue improvement of their welfare in accordance with the law”.

Ahead of the Presidency budget vote, Mabuza was in the Mpumalanga capital Mbombela “in pursuit of mechanisms to address challenges raised by military veterans”.

The Mpumalanga visit was the seventh by Mabuza and his team, including deputy defence and military veterans minister Thabang Makwetla, in compliance with the presidential instruction. Other provinces on the PTT roadshow itinerary to date were Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Free State and North West (twice).