Support for military veterans and ensuring those entitled to it receive it, is a top priority for the Presidential task team on military veterans under the leadership of Deputy President David Mabuza.
This emphasis saw the creation of work teams dealing with specific aspects of veterans’ affairs. A statement from Mabuza’s office has it there are seven teams dealing with (in no particular order) a legislative review; an organisational redesign for the Department of Military Veterans (DMV); database verification, cleansing and enhancement; socio-economic support; pensions and benefits; communication and heritage, memorialisation and burial support.
All seven teams reported on progress at a meeting last week where, in addition to the Deputy President, both the minister (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) and deputy minister (Thabang Makwetla) of defence and military veterans and acting Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, were present.
Looking ahead Mabuza’s task team will “engage” with provincial premiers. This is part of implementing measures emanating from its work.
“We would like to assure the public and all military veterans the task team on military veterans is seized with matters presented to it by different formations in terms of their wellbeing and that of their families. Our military veterans fought for the freedom of the country and the defence of its territorial integrity. We should therefore as a country afford them dignity equal to their service. To us this is at the heart of sustained social cohesion,” Mabuza is quoted as saying in the statement. This aligns with Mabuza’s delegated responsibility of strengthening and promoting social cohesion initiatives to foster nation building.
Another to-do item for the responsible work team is submission of memoranda through the DMV as regards amendments to legislation affecting military veterans. One example is the unintentional disadvantaging of veterans which negatively impacts on their socio-economic conditions.