The first round of military veterans verification in Johannesburg six months ago has resulted in 14 000 former combatants confirming their status and eligibility for benefits to be rolled out in terms of the Military Veterans Act.
With 57 000 veterans in total in South Africa, this means the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) still has to verify the status of 75% of its database.
Ahead of the verification event, Department of Military Veterans (DMV) director general Tsepe Motumi said it was mainly for members of the Azanian National Liberation Army Military Veterans Association (Azanlamva), Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army Military Veterans Association (Aplamva).
Veterans whose status has been verified will receive a health card which will, among others, enable them to access medical care at 1 Military hospital in Thaba Tshwane, Pretoria. Other benefits include employment at government departments such as the Department of Environment affairs where veterans are involved in the removal of alien invader plants.
More than 4 000 military veterans already have access to free medical care while 200 veterans and their dependents are receiving bursaries to further their studies.
This week Motumi announced plans to set up an umbrella body to unite all the country’s military veterans’ associations. It will include the Ciskei Defence Force Military Veterans Association (MVA), Transkei Defence Force MVA, Bophuthatswana Defence Force MVA, Venda Defence Force MVA and Apla MVA.
The body, to be launched in Ekurhuleni on September 28, is a response to section 7 of the Military Veterans Act which directs the department to establish a body for all military veterans nationally.
Motumi said the new body would be fair, inclusive and accountable.
“We see this process going a long way to enhancing unity within the military veterans’ community as well as restoring dignity and enhancing skills of military veterans,” he said.
He called on all military veterans and their associations to co-operate with the DMV to establish a “vibrant” umbrella body that to help accelerate delivery of benefits to military veterans.
“We also call on all stakeholders such as business, labour, civil society professionals and communities at large to work with us in ensuring we build a better life for all military veterans. We dare not forget our country is free and is about to celebrate 20 years of democracy due to the supreme sacrifices made by military veterans,” Motumi said.