Deputy President David Mabuza confirmed on Tuesday that the new military veterans pension fund will be distributed as soon as the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans finalises the pre-requisite regulations.
“We are aware of the urgency required to plug the pension gap, but we call on our military veterans to bear with the ministry, which is currently seized with the task,” Mabuza said.
The Deputy President was talking to military veteran associations in his capacity as Chairperson of the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans in Durban.
The task team, chaired by the Deputy President was established by President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide political and structural support in addressing the concerns raised by military veterans.
Meanwhile, addressing the associations in Cape Town last week, Mabuza said his wish was for the fund, which has been approved by the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans to be paid as soon as December.
He told the guests that the task team was in support of the Department of Military Veterans to mobilise additional resources required to dispense the services that are promulgated in the Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011.
“There is no acceptable reason why these heroes and heroines of the struggle must be made to wait endlessly, for something that is already enacted in an Act of Parliament,” he stressed.
In addition, he said government and the department are committed to “dispensing” services to struggle stalwarts.
“We must therefore work with speed and with added vigour to ensure that everyone employed to serve military veterans, does so efficiently,” he stressed.
“In everything that we do for military veterans, they must be consulted and involved, for, it is them that we seek to serve. They are the ones who selflessly fought to bring about the freedom that we enjoy today.”
Mabuza continued to pay tribute to those who played a role in the struggle.
“Today, we enjoy the fruits of democracy, which has been achieved at the back, sweat and limb of those of you who stepped forward, and to fight the draconian apartheid regime,” he said.
“In the process, many of you lost opportunities to go to school and to seek gainful employment, and as a result, were left lagging behind in every aspect of life. You didn’t have an opportunity to start families.”
Mabuza acknowledged that the veterans also lacked opportunities to join medical aid schemes or even build up pension reserves.
“It is for this reason that our government shall remain committed to providing care to the heroes and heroines of our liberation struggle.”
In addition, he assured them that government was working hard to provide adequate health facilities, a decent pension, housing and equitable access to education for them and their dependents.
“There cannot be any room in this department for employees that have no empathy with the plight of military veterans.”
The team, according to Mabuza, has since established seven work streams, aimed at streamlining specific service delivery packages to military veterans.
These include the legislative review; pension and benefits; database verification, cleansing and enhancement; heritage and burial support; socio-economic support; the organisational redesign and communication work stream.
So far, the team has already visited eight provinces, with one more to go.
“Through these visits, we want to learn more from you, about the lives and the vast challenges that you face daily. But also, to share with you, our attempts to put in place, measures to mitigate those challenges.”
Source: South African Government News Agency