Subsidised veterans public transport not yet finalised

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A delay in making military veterans’ pensions reality is not the only choke point at the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) – this seems to suffer the same malaise as another veterans’ benefit – subsidised public transport.

An indication of what’s happening with this “long awaited” benefit came from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise when answering Democratic Alliance (DA) point man for old soldiers, Maliyakhe Shelembe.

He bluntly asked Modise to supply “reasons for the failure to finalise the long awaited subsidised public transport strategy” for veterans as well as wanting to know if the benefit recipients were and are kept informed of what is – and isn’t – happening.

A written four paragraph response has it: “The National Department of Transport (NDT) through the social protection and community development cluster is finalising the national public transport subsidy (NPTSP)”. This, according to Modise, is “a product of extensive engagement” that will “create a broad framework” to address “challenges” to “positively and proactively shape the future of transport in South Africa”.

A DMV “team” is “continuously in consultation” with NDT on strategy finalisation. Additionally, Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga’s department “engages” with “relevant stakeholders including military veterans”.

Since Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s December announcement that veterans would start receiving the “special pensions soon”, bureaucratic “processes” involving the DMV and government’s specialist pension agency have not yet managed to ensure payments are made. Shelembe raised this issue with Modise as well by way of a Parliamentary question.