Department of Military Veterans needs R489m to support veterans' education

10 January 2018 - 15:37 By Nico Gous
Image: Simon Mathebula

The Department of Military Veterans (DMV) needs about R489-million to assist 11‚600 veterans with their basic and tertiary education studies this year.

The DMV received 9‚645 applications for the 2018 academic year. Of these 4‚054 are new applications.

DMV acting Director-General Nontobeko Mafu said this on Wednesday at a joint media briefing with the South African National Military Veterans’ Association (SANMVA) in Pretoria.

“It should be noted however that the number is expected to rise to 11‚600 as 2‚015 continuing applicants from 2017 have not yet submitted their applications for assistance in 2018.”

Mafu said the DMV allocated R155-million for educational support and it needed R334-million to support the possible 11‚600 applicants.

He said supporting education was “one of the most critical benefits” the DMV provided in changing the lives of military veterans and their beneficiaries. The DMV started assisting military veterans in 2013 by taking in 200 students for basic and higher education.

The DMV supported 4‚966 veterans with basic and 2‚746 with tertiary education in the 2017 academic year.

“These numbers have increased considerably compared to the department’s forecasting due to the changing socio-economic conditions of military veterans and the increased awareness amongst military veterans about the benefit‚” Mafu said.

The DMV said National Treasury cut its budget by 5% for the 2018/19 financial year‚ reducing the pre-allocated budgets to R627-million.

The DMV said it had paid out R177.5-million for the 2017 academic year for basic and tertiary education. The department added that it also needed R288.5-million to carry over the current 7‚606 beneficiaries.

“The department is aware that there were glitches in payments in the previous academic year and the department is working on the glitches. The department takes full responsibility for the defaulted payments and assures that this matter is addressed as a matter of urgency and therefore calls upon all the affected institutions to treat the payment-defaulting students considerately.”