Military veterans’ benefits roll-out accelerates


Military veterans now have access to benefits including housing, health, education, burial support and pensions among others thanks to the Military Veterans Benefits Regulations (MVBR).

Last month the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) gazetted the MVBR in Section 5 of the Military Veterans Act, stipulating guidelines for the roll-out of benefits.

Other benefits include job creation and placement as well as business support.

DMV Director-General Tsepe Motumi on Friday said the benefits will be rolled out in strategic spending of the R300 million that the National Treasury has allocated to the department.
“We have been hard at work for over a year to prepare the plans so when consultations are complete and the money is transferred we should immediately commence with the roll-out of benefits,” he said.

With regard to housing, Motumi said R72 million has been allocated for the provision of 505 houses to military veterans in the current financial cycle.

However, he said detailed plans as well as service level agreements with the Department of Human Settlements both nationally and provincially are being finalised to ensure speedy provision of these houses to military veterans.

Between October and December last year the DMV staged road shows in all nine provinces with 5 000 medical healthcare cards distributed to military veterans.

The cards enable veterans to get free medical care at any medical facility of the SA Medical Health Service (SAMHS) of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
“Over R3 million was spent on that campaign. We are now, on the basis of the information gathered at the time, providing counselling to more than 1 000 military veterans,” he said.

On education, Motumi said during the previous academic year, 100 bursaries at a cost of R2 million were provided to military veterans at both basic and tertiary education level.

This figure has been doubled for the 2014/15 academic year.
“200 bursaries have been provided to military veterans and R6 million has been allocated to ensure that books, laptops and other education materials necessary for military veterans and their dependents to study are also provided,” he said.

To date, the DMV has provided burial support to almost 500 military veterans who died destitute.

Before gazetting of the MVBRs, R10 000 was provided to families of military veterans for burial support.
“Following publication of the gazette, this amount has been increased to R25 000 as well as the provision of a coffin. We believe this will go a long way to ensuring military veterans are provided the dignified and honourable burials they deserve,” he said.

The Director-General also announced an agreement with the Department of Social Development to utilise the capacity and capability of SA Social Security Agency to accelerate delivery of pensions to military veterans. The Defence and Military Veterans Ministry will soon be making a detailed announcement in this regard.

To date almost 1 200 military veterans have been assisted in accessing job opportunities through memoranda of understanding entered into with the departments of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Affairs, Agriculture as well as other state entities.
“We are also engaging with the private sector to ensure a bigger net for job opportunities to adequately respond to the huge job needs of military veterans and their dependents,” he said.

Expectations are that, by next month, all DMV provincial co-ordinators would be employed ensuring military veterans would no longer have to travel to Pretoria to get services.