Deputy President David Mabuza has assured military veterans that government is committed to resolving their challenges and giving them quality services.
He was addressing a gathering of military veterans and their associations in the Free State in his capacity as Chairperson of the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans.
“We are making progress. Of course I am not happy about the pace that we are taking, the speed at which we are moving and I’m sure that as we go we are going to pick up the pace. We therefore call upon military veterans of all associations to work together with us and I can assure there is a clear determination from our side to deal with your issues.
“We respect you, we honour you. As a country, we cannot afford to forget our history [and] where we come from. We cannot afford to forget the role that you have played in the liberation of this country,” he said.
The Deputy President acknowledged that the task team has been “inundated with stories” about the challenges that military veterans are facing.
“We hear a lot of stories about your suffering. We hear a lot of stories about the suffering of your dependents…who are supposed to benefit. Please bear with us, we are here. Brick by brick, step by step we are going to resolve your challenges,” he said.
Deputy President Mabuza said the task team is also seized with sharpening the work of the Department of Military Veterans.
“The department must try and up its game. There is no room for us to fail here. We will work with the necessary speed and vigour with all the stakeholders, with all the spheres of government to ensure that the quality for services that you get from us is of a good standard.
“The Department of Military Veterans will be beefed up and supported to be able to deliver the series that you require,” he said.
He explained that the task team has broadened its scope in order to deal with all the challenges facing military veterans and appealed to military veterans to undergo a verification process.
Deputy President Mabuza added that an appeals board is being set up for those who are not satisfied with the verification process.
“We request that you support this process because the sooner we get done with the verification, the better for all of us. We want to know how many military veterans [there are]…and we can only do that, know that if we allow the verification process to happen.
“We want to know…how many are from the statutory forces and how many are from the non-statutory forces. We want to know how many received benefits and how many have not. We want to know how many of your children are receiving education support, or your health support. We must know so that where we are lagging behind, we must improve,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency