Cabinet approves R80m military vet benefit


Cabinet has approved R80 million in benefits for South African military veterans. A statement released after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting says the executive also approved a policy on the benefits, services, eligibility and institutional structures to support military veterans as contained in the report of the Ministerial Task Team on Military Veterans.

“The objective of the policy include to: recognise and honour the veterans; ensure a smooth and seamless transition from active service to civilian life; improve the quality of life of veterans and their dependents; contribute towards reconciliation and nation building; and enable government to address the plight of military veterans who were members of the liberation armies who are largely destitute,” the statement adds.
“The new benefits will include: pension benefits for the destitute; housing for those who cannot house themselves; access to counselling services; compensation for the loss of life or limb; access to training and development; facilitation of access to employment; access to public transport. An amount of R80 million has been budgeted to cater for the new benefits.”

The funding is in addition to the R20 million allocated to the Department of Military Veteran (DMV) in the national budget in February. The DMV was created over the Christmas holiday and launched in April.

Sisulu appointed the task team in June last year, with deputy minister Thabang Makwetla as chair, to develop a policy framework to address the range of challenges encountered by a broad spectrum of military veterans. The terms of reference for task team included but were not limited to “putting together structures and policies on how to govern the affairs of the veterans”. The task team concluded its report and it was handed over to the minister in January this year.
“Among others, the task team consisted of military veterans from all sides of the conflict, under the umbrella body of South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA), distinguished individuals such as Mr. Letepe Maisela, Mr Kebby Maphatsoe, Dr. Thandi Ndlovu, Mr Tony Yengeni, Major General Keith Mokoape and others,” a media release from Makwetla’s office said.
“The initiative of establishing the DMV forms part of efforts to recognise and profile selfless contributions made by many fellow patriots in an effort to bring about the realisation of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous South Africa,” the media release adds.

The report has not yet been made public or even viewed by the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans.

Pic: Military veterans remember the fallen, Remembrance Day, Johannesburg, November 2009.