South Africa: The fundamental principles of the Military Veterans Act emphasize the need to redress the injustices of the past in the delivery of services and benefits to the community of military veterans and further enjoin the rest of the Government to cooperate on the delivery of military veterans.
The Ministry acknowledges that it was its intention and wish to disburse the pension payouts by the 1st of December 2022, as it was originally communicated by the Deputy President, D.D Mabuza.
Nonetheless, consistent with our constitutional injunction to redress our past and honour those that fought for freedom, the Military Veterans was enacted in 2011, directing the Government to roll out socio-economic benefits to the community of military veterans. It is regrettable that the military veterans’ pension had not been budgeted for in previous years.
Through the intervention of the Presidential Task Team, priority will be given to members of the former Non-Statutory Forces as the main target group to access this benefit.
This military veterans’ pension will redress the imbalances of the past and bring to the realization of a benefit that is provided for in the Military Veterans Act.
The process to roll out the pension payout will commence after the lapse of the 30 days tabling in Parliament. The department will, in the meantime, take in applications and process them accordingly through the government pension processes and system.
However, in the process of the implementation of this decision, we were confronted with unavoidable administrative processes which resulted in the delay in the payment of the pension benefits. One of these was the requirement that the Draft Pension Regulations and the Pension Benefit Access form should be tabled in Parliament.
These were tabled in Parliament early in December 2022. This will, in turn, legalize the operationalization of the pension payout to military veterans.
We want to reassure the community of Military Veterans and reiterate to them that the Government remains fully committed to the provision of the pension benefit to Military Veterans and has begun the necessary administrative processes, said Minister Thandi Modise.
Government is fully conscious and aware of the financial challenges facing Military Veterans, particularly in the current difficult economic times, characterized by poor economic growth, joblessness and persistent poverty.
The Department of Military Veterans (DMV) is working around the clock to ensure that the disbursement of the Military Veterans Pension benefit is implemented as soon as possible.
In order to avoid any further delays, we urge the Military Veterans to register with the Department of Military Veterans on the database in order to qualify for benefits offered by the department and Government.
A fully completed Military Veterans Pension benefit application form should be accompanied by an Identity Document (ID) and certified birth/marriage/partnership certificate and service certificate clearly indicating the force number.
Military veterans are urged to apply in person or through registered posts. The correct address must be specified on the appropriate form, which can be found on the DMV website and provincial offices.
These forms will be forwarded to the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA), which is responsible for processing applications and paying out the pension. This pension rollout is one of the most significant milestones in the ongoing work of the department to address the plight of military veterans.
The Department of Military Veterans will continue to ensure that qualifying military veterans are provided with the Military Veterans Pension Benefit Support and that it is implemented in an effective, efficient, sustainable and accountable manner.
Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Support
The Presidential Task Team (PTT) has taken a decision that military veterans should be paid the Social Relief of Distress support amount of R1250.00 per month to augment their pension payout during the current challenging economic situation. This will be a significant improvement on the previous R350.00 social relief support paid to veterans.
The department should find alternative ways to implement such support in an effective and equitable manner to ensure that all those eligible benefits.
The Department of Military Veterans provides funding to eligible military veterans and their dependents who wish to pursue studies in public institutions within the Republic of South Africa.
We urge military veterans and their dependents to apply and use these benefits during the current open season for applications. The application period is closing at the end of January 2023.
The Ministry and the Department of Military Veterans are working hard to resolve the glitches relating to the provision of housing, education and access to health facilities for Military Veterans and their dependents, as well as the skilling of Military Veterans in line with the Military Veterans Act No. 18 of 2011.
The Ministry is fully aware of the organizational, managerial and leadership challenges faced by the Department of Military Veterans, which negatively impact its ability and capacity to deliver services to the stakeholders.
This is a matter that needs to be attended to with the necessary speed to finally restore the dignity of the Military Veterans and to be aligned with the constitutional injunction to honour those who fought and sacrificed to bring about this democracy.