Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Co-Chairpersons and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence
Members of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans
Secretary for Defence
Chief of the SANDF
Chiefs of Services and Divisions
Acting Director General of DMV and his team present
Leadership of SANMVA
All Military Veterans present
Ladies and gentlemen
Today I stand before you during Africa Month on Africa Day as we celebrate the year 2017 as the year of OR Tambo. Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo: a teacher, a lawyer, a diplomat, Supreme Commander of M.K. and a former president of the ANC from 1977 until 1990, was an impeccable leader of the ANC, after many years of toil and conscientious care, had led his people. He was the ‘glue’ that held the movement together during the most difficult and frustrating years in exile.
A colossus that stood tall in foreign lands and represented South African whilst under apartheid; a man who strengthened the movement in exile and delivered it united and successful upon its unbanning.
The community of Military Veterans are celebrating Africa Day with pride and gratitude as most countries opened up their borders for the community’s refuge. Most countries assisted many military veterans during the struggle against apartheid. Most countries in the SADC even lost their citizens during SADF cross border raids.
Africa, as military veterans community we honour you. We also owe our freedom to your sons and daughters.
The Department of Military Veterans has been appropriated R 622.1 mil for the financial year 2017/18. This constitute a 4 % nominal increase, but a real decrease from the last financial year budget. This budget is not enough considering the magnitude of military veteran’s needs. The Department of Military Veterans has a huge task of balancing socio economic support between military veterans who are in dire need of benefits.
The Department of Military Veterans is committed to accelerate delivery of benefits in this financial year.
PRIORITIES FOR 2017/18 FY
During the 2017/18 financial year, the department will focus on:
- Recognise and honour military veterans in life and memorialise them in death for their sacrifices on behalf of the nation;
- Provide a comprehensive delivery system of benefits and services for military veterans.
In my budget speech in May 2015 I committed to the Amendment of Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011; the Department of Military Veterans has started in earnest the process of the legislative review in 2016 and during the 2017/18 financial year, the focus will be on the finalisation and approval of the amendments as well as the Military Veterans Benefits Regulations of 2014. The review process is planned to be tabled in Parliament at the end of July 2017.
Memorialisation, Heritage, Burial Support and Honouring
For the 2016/17 financial year, the DMV had budgeted for providing burial support to at least 200 families of deceased military veterans, based on the trend from previous years. For the new financial year, the Number of military veterans’ families to be provided with burial support per year will be retained at 200.
The Burial Support function will also be delegated to provincial offices to enhance quicker delivery on the service.
The DMV has started with the erection of tombstones at the gravesites of military veterans. Working with SANMVA, the DMV intends to erect and unveil at least 100 tombstones at the graves of military veterans across the country.
In the 2017/18 financial year, the DMV will honour the memory of soldiers who had died at the battle of El Alamein during the Second World War in Egypt. This year commemorates 75 years since the Battle of El Alamein.
The Department has started plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wanki Sipolilo guerrilla war that took place in South Rhodesia which is now Zimbabwe.
In December 2017 the Department will celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Maseru raid Massacre – Lesotho.
We wish to honour our comrades who recently passed on, among them is the man who lead a 30 000 strong people from Langa to Cape Town in March of 1960; Ntate Phillip Ata Kgosana. May his soul, and those of the other veterans, rest in peace.
Heritage, Memorial, Burial and Honours has been allocated R21.8 million.
Business Development Support
The target for the Number of military veterans’ business entities supported per year had been set at 100 for the 2016/17 financial year. By the end of the financial year, 146 military veterans businesses had been registered on the DMV database with each one of these also being advised on registering on the National Treasury’s Central Suppliers Database.
The Department is committed to fast-track the preferred procurement process favouring military veterans.
In the Western Cape, a successful co-operatives workshop was held for over 200 military veterans in conjunction with the Department of Human Settlements and the Small Enterprise Development Agency. For the 2017/18 financial year, provincial offices will be capacitated to register 100 new military veterans businesses. The National Office shall also provide a Monitoring and Support function and attempt to create more access to supplier development days and business expos and workshops across all provinces.
In the 2016/17 financial year, the target for the Number of deserving military veterans with access for training and skills development per year was set at 3 500.
The target for the Number of deserving military veterans and their dependants with access for training and skills development in the 2017/18 financial year is set at 4000.
The Department is committed to skilling of more military veterans and their dependents.
Empowerment and Skills Development has been allocated R94.0 million.
Provincial Offices and Stakeholder Management
To date 3 Provincial Offices have been identified to be officially opened this financial year, these are:
- Mpumalanga Province with office in the City of Mbombela,
- North West Province with the office in the City of Mafikeng
- Eastern Cape Province with the office in East London in the Buffalo City Municipality.
Other provinces such as Gauteng with the office being situated in Johannesburg are in the process of being renovated and will in all probability be launched in this financial year as well.
Kwa-Zulu Natal, Western Cape, Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo provincial offices are currently being identified with the assistance of the Department of Public Works, and once suitable office space has been identified and the necessary renovations conducted and completed and infrastructure added to these offices they too will be launched.
Provincial Offices and Stakeholder Relations has been allocated R49.1 million.
The Education support grew exponentially far beyond the initial baseline of 4000 as stipulated in the Department’s Annual Performance Plan, primarily due to the high demand and Executive directive to open up for new applications in both Public and Private Institutions which resulted in huge financial implications. The Benefit is demand driven.
To date the Department has assisted 7 212 Military veterans and their dependants with Education Support.
– (4589) for basic education.
– (2623) for tertiary education (both private and public institutions).
This benefit has restored dignity in many military veterans’ homes as children’s needs are taken care off. The administration of this benefits has its flaws due to lack of systems, but this financial year will see it improving from strength to strength.
To date the benefit has produced ….graduates and will produce more in the next years.
Education support has been allocated R 108.1 million.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
More than 15000 Military veterans are authorized to receive healthcare services, so they can have free access to health care in different military health facilities across the country.
Health and wellness benefit has been allocated R 52.0 million.
The Department is working closely with Department of Human Settlements to accelerate the roll out of houses to military veterans. The Department has accelerated the rescue of bonded houses in distress, which relieves many military veterans.
To date …. Military veterans’s houses have been rescued. This is a huge relief for many military veterans who have since lost jobs and unable to pay their mortgage.
In the last financial year the Department delivered 152 houses nationwide.
The Housing benefit has been allocated R 73.2 million.
In the last financial year 150 Military veterans have been assessed and approved for compensation for injury, trauma and disease.
Compensation has been allocated R 5.0 million
SOCIAL RELIEF OF DISTRESS
2017/18 financial year will see the rolling out of the social relief of distress grant to more military veterans and their dependants. Last financial year saw over 2 244 Military veterans who received the social relief of distress from the department on a monthly basis.
SRD has been allocated R24.0 million.
Public Transport: the signing of Memorandum of Understanding and the Service Level Agreement between the DMV and the Department of Transport not yet been finalised.
May I thank the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans for her support and leadership since I took over as Deputy Minister.