Liberation veterans not happy with department despite offer to educate their kids
By Sihle Mavuso 24m ago
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Durban – The financially struggling Department of Military Veterans (DMV), which is tasked with looking after the affairs of all military veterans, said it would continue to fund the academic needs of the children of veterans.
However, formations of veterans said this was not enough as the department was yet to meet their basic needs as set out in the amended Act of Military Veterans of 2011.
The act was amended after the intervention of former president Jacob Zuma, who, after listening to them, felt officers from apartheid forces were getting better benefits than those from liberation movements like MKMVA (uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans) and Azanla (Azanian National Liberation Army) military veterans.
In a letter dated December 23 and addressed to military veterans from all formations, the department said it would continue to fund the education of their children, provided they met the criteria.
Among the criteria is they should not study at a privately-owned institution of basic or higher learning.
“All applicants for current DMV Grade 12 beneficiaries are urged to apply for their studies at public tertiary institutions, as the DMV no longer supports students at private institutions,” read the letter.
The memo has angered Azanla, the former military wing of Azapo, and to a lesser extent, the MKMVA, former military wing of the ANC.
Azanla’s spokesperson, Percy Phake, said while they were happy with the confirmation, the department was playing publicity games with them. He said they were still aggrieved because the department unilaterally cut the per-child funding at a time when the costs of educating a child were escalating.
“Initially, it was R42 000, then they reduced it to R20 000 for reasons that are unqualified. Currently, they offer R20 000 per child, which is little to cover all expenses for school – transport, uniform, stationery, even food. Again, they refuse that our children attend private schools.”
He further said the issue of late payment by the department to academic institutions has not been resolved, even after they requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to restructure the DMV because it has failed former liberation struggle war veterans since inception.
“They don't even have a permanent director-general as we speak. The DMV has failed liberation struggle war veterans, even after the deputy president ordered that SRD (the Social Relief of Distress Grant) be paid before Christmas without a means test, they failed. That says we had a painful Christmas and New Year because of this DMV till today,” Phake said.
The spokesperson of MKMVA, Carl Niehaus, said several issues, including the education of military veterans, have been forwarded to a task team headed by deputy president David Mabuza and assigned by Ramaphosa, to look at the many grievances raised by former freedom fighters.
“We are definitely trying to address these issues because we are concerned that the Military Veterans’ Act of 2011 is not being properly implemented and military veterans are not getting their dues,” said Niehaus.
Despite attempts to get the department’s spokesperson, Phumeza Dzuguda, to respond, she had not done so the time of publication.