New military veterans’ special pension regulations are “us vs them” – Holomisa

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Retired military officer and United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader, Bantu Holomisa, is another public representative taking up cudgels on behalf of South Africa’s military veterans and has gone as far as Deputy President Paul Mashatile seeking answers and progress.

On the now signed into legislation military veterans special pension regulations, he maintains they are evidence an “us versus them mentality” with the former statutory forces, including what was the SA Defence Force (SADF), Bophuthatswana Defence Force (BDF), Transkei Defence Force (TDF) and Venda Defence Force (VDF) “completely left out”. This, according to him, is against the spirit of integration, the Military Veterans Act, and is completely unconstitutional.

“Any notion propagated and advanced in the name of military veterans in the South African setting should, by legislative framework, include all members of military formations irrespective of previous political background. The proposed regulations are wrongly premised in terms of legal framework and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve,” Holomisa told the TDF Military Veterans Association ahead of the new special pension regulations being implemented.

At the time of implementation, indications were those qualifying would receive their first payments in January. To date this has not happened with Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise earlier in April telling a parliamentarian “administrative delays” were behind the late payment as “process and procedure were still underway.”

Holomisa is involving the man who replaced David Mabuza as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s number two and who has publicly indicated he will continue where his predecessor left off in discussions with military veterans on “pensions and other benefits”.

Holomisa’s actions follow on him raising the issue of military veteran benefits in the Parliamentary debate on Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation (SONA) in February. The Commander-in-Chief is reported as saying: “Honourable Holomisa raised the issue of the pensions of civil servants and military veterans from the [former] TBVC states. These are indeed issues that need to be considered. The Deputy President heads a task team on benefits for military veterans, which has a work stream on pension. I have asked this task team to provide report on this issue. I have further asked the Minister of Finance to set up a team to look into the pensions for civil servants from the TBVC states.”

Holomisa wants Mashatile to “give action to the instruction of the President” and meet a team with representatives of concerned former SANDF and TBVC retired military veterans for an audience “to start the ball rolling”.