Veterans department to launch tomorrow


Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu and her deputy will tomorrow formally open the Department of Military Veteran (DMV) that was gazetted in December. Former Acting Secretary for Defence Tsepe Motumi was appointed director general of the department in February.

The DMV was proclaimed in Government Gazette number 32844, dated December 28 2009. The department will be responsible for the overall management and administration of military veterans’ affairs including, but not limited to, developing legislation, policy, programmes, benefits and services that facilitate the transition from active service to civilian life.

The National Treasury last week allocated the department R20 million for the 2010/11 financial year that began this month as well as R30 million for 2011/12 and R30 million in 2012/13 as part of the defence budget.

Makwetla’s office says more than 500 guests are expected to attend the official launch and the unveling of the logo of the newly established department tomorrow at the Denel Group campus in Irene, south of Pretoria.

Sisulu appointed a task team in June last year, with 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 and is currently due for submission to Cabinet prior to finalisation.
“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 task team also conducted case studies and examined best practises in other countries such as Canada, Algeria and recently in Angola.
“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 theme of the new department is “Military Veterans: From conflict to development and nation-building”, Makwetla’s office says.