Declaration of the defence and military veterans minister’s indaba on military veterans, Birchwood Hotel & O.R. Tambo Conference Centre, 15th and 16th Of July, 2015.
We, the military veterans assembled in the Military Veterans Indaba convened by the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans, on the 15th and 16th of July 2015, at the Birchwood Hotel and O.R. Tambo Conference Centre; representing military veterans from all nine provinces, as well as all military veterans associations, that is APLA MVA, ANZANLA MVA, CMVO, MKMVA, TBVC MVA’s, hereby state that,
In recognition of, the role played by military veterans in achieving a democratic dispensation in South Africa; The fact that this has not yet been fully recognised and that consequently military veterans face serious social and economic challenges; The fact that, despite efforts to create a legislative framework that will lay the basis for socio-economic interventions by and on behalf of military veterans, the legal framework is still fragmented;
The desire of military veterans to continue to play a positive contribution to society by positioning themselves as a role model for the youth, as well as an agent for the transformation of society; The fact that the Department of Military Veterans is a newly-established government department, and has encountered several teething problems which has limited its capacity to deliver services, including the lack of an adequate budget from the national fiscus; The reality that the welfare of our military veterans is a societal responsibility and is not merely limited to a role played by the government or state;
Therefore Declare to the Military Veterans Community, the People of South Africa and the world that, The initiative undertaken by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Defence to convene this Indaba is to be applauded and deeply appreciated as it lays a foundation and opens a way for further ongoing engagement between the Ministry and the military veterans community; The legislative framework through which our country has been dealing with the matters of military veterans should be consolidated into a single, coherent framework; That this framework should serve as the basis for the strengthening of the mandate of the young and fledgling Department of Military Veterans; That the policy process that will give effect to the legislative intent should, Serve to create economically sustainable programmes and projects for the military veterans and their beneficiaries and ensure that they make an immediate but on-going contribution to the macro and micro economies.
In pursuit of this, the DMV will be tasked to mobilise government departments across all three spheres, state-owned enterprises, the private sector and civil society to support the socio-economic empowerment of military veterans, in a structured and coordinated manner.
Create a social safety net that will alleviate the plight of military veterans, which should include, education for themselves and their dependents, subsidised medical care for military veterans and their families, subsidised public transport and other forms of social support, compensation for disabilities, both physical and psycho-social sustained during the course of bringing about the democratic dispensation, adequate housing for those who are destitute or unable to provide housing for themselves and their dependents, and the immediate implementation of the urgent interventions proposed by this Indaba to resolve the current challenges in payments of education, healthcare and compensation benefits.
Ensure that the DMV is subject to a stringent process of business process re-engineering to ensure that it institutionalises its systems and procedures for the effective functioning of the department, and the necessary capacity to deliver on its core mandate. Military veterans will continue to participate actively in community projects, especially those aimed at the youth, to ensure that society recognises the contribution of military veterans; The DMV should develop processes through which the SANMVA, a structure created through the Act, should be accountable to both the DMV and to military veterans themselves; That the full report of the deliberations and recommendations from this Indaba should be tabled and inform discussion at the envisaged Strategic Retreat of the DMV convened by the Minister; and The Ministry and the department will engage on an ongoing basis with the military veterans to ensure feedback on the implementation program adopted to deal with the issues raised at this Indaba.
We thus declare our commitment as military veterans to form a partnership that complements government efforts to serve the aspirations of all our military veterans.