Military veterans push for standalone ministry

05 July 2017 - 08:12 By Neo Goba
Members of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) stand guard at the ANC headquarters in downtown Johannesburg. File photo.
Members of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) stand guard at the ANC headquarters in downtown Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

ANC policy conference delegates have revived the debate on the creation of a fully fledged military veterans ministry‚ saying it should be established before the end of this administration's five-year term in 2019.

David Mahlobo‚ who is a member of the ANC's subcommittee on peace and stability‚ said the proposal was made by delegates during commission discussions at the ANC policy conference in Nasrec‚ south of Johannesburg.

Mahlobo‚ who is also state security minister‚ said ANC delegates believe the current department of military veterans should be a stand-alone entity in order to properly address the plight of military veterans.

"With respect to the military veterans‚ we have reconfirmed the decision we have taken in the 2007 Polokwane [conference] where we agreed to establish a ministry‚" Mahlobo said.

"There is a strong view that we should be able to conclude the journey of giving a stand-alone ministry to be able to deal with issues of military veterans and the suggestion is to say before the end of this term‚ we should have done that‚" said Mahlobo.

The uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA)‚ headed by deputy minister of defence and military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe‚ has long been lobbying for its own ministry.

TimesLIVE understands that MKMVA delegates pushed for the ANC policy conference to revive the debate on the ministry and for the proposal to be adopted.

Mahlobo said the policy conference recognised the need to better use the skills of retired and unemployed military veterans‚ especially in the private security space and national key points.

He said the military veterans have experience that should not go to waste.

"We will support all the military veterans‚ black or white‚ because they have a genuine concern ... Over a period of time now‚ members of the military veterans were reminding us to conclude the implementation‚" said Mahlobo.

- TimesLIVE

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