Military veterans by the numbers


The oft mentioned database of South Africa’s military veterans shows the country currently has 67 718 veterans from at least 10 different forces registered.

According to the Department of Military Veterans’ Annual Performance Plan 2017/18 – 2019/2020 they are the people it is providing services, including healthcare, housing and education assistance, to.

The 74 page publication had a table titled “Community of Military Veterans” which shows the single largest contributor to the national population of military veterans is the former SA Defence Force (SADF) with 35 189 registered retired airmen, military medics, sailors and soldiers on the national database.

Second, by a long distance is the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) with 12 836, and Umkhonto we Sizwe, what was the armed wing of the ANC, following in third place with 10 745 registered on the military veterans database. Apla (the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army) ranks fourth with 4 316 registered veterans. Seventh place goes to AZANLA (Azanian National Liberation Army) with 560.

The former Bophuthatswana and Transkei defence forces each have, according to the publication, 1 609 registered military veterans while the former Ciskei has 445 and former Venda defence forces 173.

In age terms the single largest group are former soldiers between the ages of 45 and 54. At 27 553 they make up around 40% of the total. Other age groupings where there are more than ten thousand registered veterans are 35 to 44 (14 927) and 55 to 64 with 13 221. Just over eight thousand are 65 and older with just under four thousand 35 and younger.

Late last year Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) questioned the reliability of the military veterans’ database. Malusi Motimele, PCDMV chairman, said the committee is on record as wanting a “reliable and verifiable database and is concerned this still remains a challenge”.
“It is negatively affecting the delivery of houses at provincial level leading to under-performance and must be urgently addressed,” he said.