The Ministers of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu and State Security Siyabonga Cwele met with the President and executive members of the Russian Military Veterans League.
The aim of the visit was to thank the League for the role they played during the struggle against apartheid and also explore partnerships to help South African liberation struggle veterans to enter the main economic sector.
Sisulu said SA’s relationship with Russia and its veterans is very emotional. “South Africa owes a great deal to the people of Russia for their freedom, and I am happy that today we are working together to take that relationship to a higher level, Comrades I spent a great deal of time here, we learnt a lot, but most important you looked after us like your own families, we thank you,” she said.
The Veterans showed the minister photos of many young South Africans who underwent training in Russia. The Vice President of the Russian Federal Veterans League, Vyacheslav Shiryaev also shared with the ministers details of their economic and social programme for veterans, with the main emphasis on how they trained veterans to participate in agriculture and military technology, Sisulu’s office said in a statement.
Shiryaev outlined that “due to their proactive engagement with different industry from mining, agriculture, manufacturing and military technology the greater percentage of veterans are employed and are part of the main stream economy.”
The ministers invited the veterans to come to South Africa in December 2010 to share their experiences with South African military veterans and government officials. “I am convinced that our veterans in South Africa who are still at an early stage of entering the economic sector will learn a lot from you. Officials from the newly established Department of Military Veterans will also benefit from learning how Veterans can be supported and organised in order to play a role in the economy” She said.
The Ministers are in Russia as part of President Jacob Zuma state visit.