As the DMV matures and builds its capacity to roll out the 11 benefits listed in the Military Veterans Act, there is a serious constraint in our budget allocation. There is a massive increase in the demand for benefits from military veterans as a result of the increasing capacity of the department and its engagement with military veterans.
The increase in demand for benefits has resulted in a serious budget shortfall for DMV as from the previous financial year. The further budget cuts announced by National Treasury in December 2017, of 5% in the case of DMV, further increased this shortfall.
To ensure that all deserving military veterans continue to receive support from DMV, the department had to adjust its available budget through a re-prioritisation process.
On 17 January 2018 the Minister and Deputy Minister of Defence & Military Veterans, held a consultation with the South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA) and its affiliate associations to explain financial pressures facing the DMV and to solicit buy in and support for the proposals of the department.
The DMV in the last academic year provided an education support benefit to 7712 military veterans and their dependants. For this academic year the number of applicants has increased to 11600, with about 4000 new applicants. This increase means that the department needed to take immediate steps to ensure that the available resources are spread amongst all qualifying and deserving applicants.
For Basic Education Support
- For new applications for the 2018 academic year, the maximum benefit will be R20 000 per leaner per annum. This is to ensure that in spite of budgetary constraints, all military veterans and their beneficiaries who qualify are provided with this important benefit.
- For continuing learners the threshold will remain at R42 500 in 2018, however in 2019 the maximum amount will be R20 000 for all learners in basic education.
For Higher Education Support
- The Department is obligated and commits to provide all continuing military veterans and their dependants studying at higher education institutions (both public and private) with education support, subject to them meeting the DMV qualifying criteria.
- In line with statement of the President of the RSA, the honourable JG Zuma on the 16 December 2017 with regard to the provision of free education to poor and working class students, DMV will engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training and NSFAS to ensure that continuing students studying in public higher education institutions who meet the criteria (ie a family income of less than R350 000) will be provided with the education support benefit through NSFAS.
- DMV commits to assist to ensure that all deserving military veterans and their dependants continue to receive education support from the department.