President Ramaphosa promises to resolve military veterans' grievances

Ex-MK, Apla and Azanla members want a one-off payment, presidential pardons, jobs at state-owned entities and housing

23 December 2020 - 13:21
Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans. File photo.
Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans. File photo.
Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has assured liberation struggle war and military veterans that his government will address their grievances.

This comes after Ramaphosa chaired a meeting between a grouping of struggle military veterans, which included members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and the Azanian National Liberation Army, and a task team he appointed on the matter.

The task team is led by Deputy President David Mabuza. It was formed after the grouping marched in Durban last month and later handed over a memorandum of demands to the presidency.

The grouping wants a one-off payment for their contribution to the struggle, presidential pardons for their members, jobs at state-owned entities and housing, among other things.

The task team has since November 11 held a number of high-level discussions to resolve matters of serious concern relating to the wellbeing of military veterans. These matters were raised by military veterans in a memorandum submitted to the presidency on November 10,” Ramaphosa's spokesperson Tyron Seale said in a statement. 

Yesterday’s meeting reflected on the progress made through the discussions to date. While consensus has been reached on a number of critical points, discussions and engagements will continue to resolve outstanding issues. 

President Ramaphosa commended the constructive, principled manner in which the military veterans raised their concerns and he assured the veterans these issues will be resolved,” said Seale.

He said Ramaphosa highlighted that more work needed to be done and that engagement needs to continue on some of the issues raised.

“The deputy president and the task team will continue to engage various government stakeholders, including ministers and premiers, to implement what has been agreed to thus far and to strengthen government's support to military veterans.

Spokesperson for the group Lwazi Mzobe confirmed that Tuesday's meeting resolved a number of issues, including the possibility of presidential pardons for their members.

He said the meeting also discussed the issue of bursaries for veterans and burial schemes.

“We are happy [about progress made] but not 100%, because there are certain issues that we never resolved. But the good thing is that the door has never been shut,” he said. 

Mzobe said they will continue to engage with the task team to resolve the outstanding issues.

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