Cape Town – Deputy President David Mabuza on Thursday pleaded with military veterans to exercise patience while the government tackled obstacles that had delayed the processes that would enable them to access benefits.
Mabuza was addressing military veterans at an event aimed to give them an update on the progress on facilitating access to services and benefits in Cape Town.
Mabuza said that the presidential task team’s visit to the province was an opportunity for them to reflect on the obstacles that might delay the process to enable veterans’ access to benefits such as pension, housing, health services and education.
“The biggest obstacle that we need to finalise and resolve is management of the Department of Military Veterans database of all our military veterans. That must be concluded without delay,” he said.
Mabuza said the presidential task team had reached a milestone in approving the veterans’ pension policy.
“Currently, it is work in progress on the regulation in order to ensure that these pension benefits are paid out,” he said to shouts of “When?” and the clapping of hands from the audience.
“We are aware of the deficit that needs to be urgently filled by this policy, and we appeal to our military just to exercise a bit of patience. We are almost there,” Mabuza said.
“It is our wish that (the issue will be resolved) come December,” he said, as the crowd clapped.
Head of department Irene Mpolweni said there was a R39 million budget set aside to pay the pensions, and the amount would increase in the next financial year to R102m, and incrementally increase in the following financial years.
The veterans heard that the pension benefits would be paid once Parliament passed the regulations for the pension policy.
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise said: “We do acknowledge that we have been slow.”
The veterans were briefed about the numbers of those receiving various benefits in the province.
“Even as the deputy president is to take this podium… it is to say we do acknowledge that we have been slow,” Modise said.
During the session, the veterans were briefed about the numbers of those receiving various benefits in the province.
One of the military veterans, Vuyani Mamani, complained that the verification of the veterans by the department took longer.
“The Department of Military Veterans should accept lists verified by their formations. Its responsibility should be to enrol them,” he said.
Another veteran, Fumanekile Booi, also complained about the reverification process, saying they had been through similar exercises before.
“How many must die so that we can benefit?” Booi asked.