Government recognising, albeit belatedly, the contribution made by military veterans during the apartheid years as evidenced by President Cyril Ramaphosa assuring them “issues” they have as regards social and economic support will be addressed.
A Presidential statement, issued two days before Christmas, is the latest addition to developments on the military veterans’ “front”. Others include the formation of a task team headed by Deputy President David Mabuza that will concentrate on veterans’ issues ranging from finality on the long-awaited database through to healthcare and memorials. Additionally, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) has expressed more than a passing interest in particularly the much-maligned military veterans’ database. This after Cyril Xaba’s committee was told the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) availed itself of outside expertise in the form of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to assist in finalisation of the database. The PCMV is expected to ask for a progress report toward the end of the first quarter of this year.
Speaking at a meeting of the high level task team on matters related to the benefits of military veterans, Ramaphosa indicated government “recognised the contribution of military veterans to the attainment of a free and democratic South Africa”.
According to a Presidency statement South Africa’s first citizen is “satisfied” with progress made by the task team in finding solutions to grievances “Liberation Struggle War veterans and military veterans raised with government”.
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (Jackson Mthembu) along with the Minister (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) and Deputy Minister (Thabang Makwetla) of Defence and Military Veterans are part of Mabuza’s specialist military veterans task team.
Acknowledging the contribution of military veterans to democratic South Africa, Ramaphosa said: “A country that does not look after its military veterans, who sacrificed to help all South Africans to attain freedom, is a country with no appreciation of its foundation and past and therefore a country with no future.”
The President highlighted more work needs to be done, engagement needs to continue on some issues and implementation needs to be monitored in areas ready to be actioned.
Mabuza’s task team will continue engaging government stakeholders including Cabinet Ministers and provincial premiers to implement what has been agreed to so far and strengthen government support to military veterans.