After being rapped over the knuckles earlier this month by Parliament’s Select Committee on Security and Justice, the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) has acknowledged areas of concern, particularly as far as housing is concerned, and pointed out areas where it has made advances.
Following a visit to South Africa’s northern provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, committee chairman Kgoshi Setlamorago Thobejane said the DMV “only managed to build a disappointing 41 houses against a target of three thousand it intended to build in the 2015/16 financial year”.
The DMV, headed by Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Kebby Maphatsoe, said this week it was continuing its commitment to improving the quality of life of military veterans by “pursuing various strategies relating to housing provisioning”.
“In the past the DMV focussed on building new houses for the homeless. This approach has been broadened to include offering financial assistance to military veterans whose properties are in danger of being repossessed by the banks.
“To date 130 new houses have been built while 33 properties have been rescued. Other interventions being considered include the provision of repairs to dilapidated properties. New partnerships are also being considered to accelerate housing provision and complement the current housing arrangement between the DMV and the Department of Human Settlements (headed by former Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu).”
As far as helping military veterans is concerned, the DMV said the roll-out of its social relief distress (SRD) programme has been successful.
“To date 1 863 military veterans receive a monthly stipend of R1 200 to help offset the devastating effects of poverty.
“The Department is also successfully funding education of 5 758 military veterans and their dependents with over R35 million already spent. Since the inception of education funding, 20 graduates have been produced.”
The DMV reports more than fifteen thousand military veterans have access to healthcare through the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS). Healthcare provided varies from the most basic and primary through to specialised services.