Military veterans’ pension with government agency for roll-out

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Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise almost repeated herself when answering another Parliamentary questioner wanting to know when old soldiers will start receiving what’s due to them pension-wise.

In April Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parliamentarian Washington Mafanya asked if “process and procedure” was still underway to ensure pension payments are made. He posed a similar repeat question two months later in a further attempt to obtain clarity. The Ministerial response made it to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) site this month (July) saying “the military veterans’ pension is currently being rolled out by Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA)” without specifying a commencement date.

Modise relates what has and is being done for military veterans, starting with the Presidential task team (PTT) set up in 2020, headed by former deputy president David Mabuza and now led by Paul Mashatile. She tells Mafanya the PTT was “was established to find solutions and eliminate blockages preventing smooth rollout of benefits to bona fide military veterans”.

“The PTT visited eight of nine provinces so far, with the exception of Northern Cape. Most of the sub-work streams in socio-economic have not been functioning optimally. The PTT has been engaging premiers of provinces to better assist the department [presumably of defence and military veterans] in improving delivery of services to military veterans. One of the issues agreed upon with the premiers is to create a co-ordination mechanism within offices of premiers to centralise co-ordination of military veteran’s issues in the province.”

PTT work streams cover legislative review; organisational redesign; database verification, cleansing and enhancement; pensions and benefits; heritage and memorialisation; communication and lastly socio-economic support.

Verification of the veterans’ database has long been a thorny issue for the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) where former SA Navy (SAN) chief Mosiwa Hlongwane is currently interim director-general.

Modise avers the responsible work stream has visited three provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo) and “will consider recommendations” from the database verification, cleansing and enhancement work stream on how to deal with “the matter of former self-defence units and Qibla [Kaaba, in all probability a misspelling that should refer to the former Bantustan defence entities] forces”.