Military veterans’ pension admin processing underway

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Regulations governing the long awaited military veterans’ pensions could be open to a second round of public submissions but this will not materially affect pension payments, according to Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Thabang Makwetla.

Overall administration of payments, along with at least seven other government-initiated benefits for properly registered veterans, now rests under the overall control of retired SA Navy (SAN) chief Mosiwa Hlongwane. He was last week named by Makwetla as Department of Military Veterans (DMV) acting Director-General in place of the temporarily suspended Irene Mpolweni. These range from compensation for injury, trauma and disease through to counselling and treatment; assistance with employment and business opportunities; subsidised use of public transport; access to healthcare and housing and burial support.

Following his 26 April announcement of the revised military veteran pension regulations, Makwetla noted submissions made in the 30 day window were “helpful” and “enriched” the regulations. “There has been a call for further submissions on these regulations that were published in government gazette. This was not intended to stop the administrative roll-out of this process of administering the roll out of the pension, the processing of applications and the paying of those who qualify; this process is ongoing,” the latest Makwetla statement reads.

“Amendments to the regulations in the interest of ensuring a smooth implementation of legislation is the norm and an ongoing endeavour. The pension rollout is a rational, balanced, equitable, and morally acceptable government intervention intended to ensure that no military veteran who rendered service to the country is left without a state pension.

“The regulations are subsidiary legislation and the preserve of the Executive for purposes of spelling out administrative procedures for the efficient implementation of legislation as passed by parliament,” the statement reads.

It further has the deputy minister noting “confusion and uncertainty created by the lack of clarity on the part of DMV officials in their interaction with Parliament’s oversight committee on Defence and Military Veterans”.

“We wish to clarify the roll out of the military veterans’ pension is being implemented through the Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA) and thus far, over 600 applications have been received since the commencement of this pension roll out”.

The statement makes no mention of when veterans who are correctly registered on the DMV database will start receiving pensions.