Concerns that Apla (Azanian People’s Liberation Army) veterans are being left out of the loop in the new veterans’ dispensation have been laid to rest.
Following a meeting between Department of Military Veterans (DMV) director general Tsepe Motumi and Colonel (ret) Andile Ntabeni of AplaMVA (Apla Military Veterans Association) communications and relations between the two will move onto a better footing.
This will see a medals parade for former Apla members fast tracked during the year and their inclusion in the overall veterans’ verification process, which is currently underway.
In a joint statement the two said an inclusive AplaMVA conference to “unify” veterans in engagements with the DMV would take place within the next three months. This would pave the way for “effective participation of all military veterans in policy and programmatic matters affecting them”.
Motumi and Ntabeni said follow-up work would be done to verify former Apla members who were not part of the 1994/5 integration process that saw the SA National Defence Force come into being.
In addition to the verification process currently underway, the DMV has been issuing healthcare cards to veterans whose full details are now part of the national veterans’ database.
The Military Veterans Act of 2011 defines a military veteran as “a South African citizen who rendered military service to any of the military organisations, which were involved on all the sides of South Africa’s liberation war from 1960 to 1994, those who served in the Union Defence Force before 1961 and those who became members of the South African National Defence Force after 1994, and who have completed military training and are no longer performing military duties and have not been dishonourably discharged from a military organisation.”
In terms of the Act veterans qualify for assistance with funerals, further education, jobs and housing.