Military Veterans registration on course

12 July 2012

The recent characterisation of the military veteran’s registration process as chaotic is grossly exaggerated, misleading and most unfortunate because it stands in stark contrast to the overwhelming response we continue to receive from the community of military veterans across the country.

The recent call by the Democratic Alliance is therefore not borne out of objective considerations but just a misguided political urge to cause misplaced panic and unnecessary confusion.

Firstly, the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Makwetla has always maintained since the pilot project started last year in November, that the registration and update of demographic profiles of former soldiers is an open ended process that will be on going until the Department of Military Veterans has uploaded and reached all qualifying military veterans. The process will continue for as long as there are veterans or their next of kin who want to register, verify and update their biographical data.

We urge the military veterans community to register as there will be no military veterans who will access benefits without due registration.

We furthermore call upon the military veterans community not to despair but to continue to register in various areas as stipulated in media advertisement. The department has, as part of the original plan, adopted a comprehensive but flexible registration process that will never be considered closed until every military veteran in the country is fully registered. Part of the plan includes the establishment of a call centre to ease communication challenges that arise as the process unfolds.

As matters stand, during the previous registration phase in November last year we uploaded more than 8000 military veterans and on the current phase we have already received more than 20 000 applications.

According to the 2011 Military Veterans act, a military veteran is any South African who rendered military service to any of the military organisations, former statutory and liberation armies, which were involved on all sides of South Africa's liberation war from 1960 to 1993; served in the then Union Defence Force before 1961 or became a member of the SANDF after 1994 and has completed his or military training and no longer performs military duties, and has not been dishonourably discharged from his or her respective military organisation.

The Act enjoins the state to provide the following benefits to qualifying military veterans or their dependents viz housing, free health care, access to public transport, job placements, business support, burial support, honour or memorialisation, education and skills development amongst others. These benefits are provided on a case by case basis following a means test.

Issued by:

Ntime Skhosana
Spokesperson for the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans