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MILITARY veterans yesterday welcomed the “long overdue” special attention paid to their needs.
The Treasury plans to give 16 000 veterans access to healthcare, provide pension and transport benefits to 15 000, and supply 7 000 with housing by 2014/15.
This is according to the Treasury’s budget documents.
Implementation will start gradually in the 2012/12 financial year, with plans to provide 8 000 veterans with pensions.
Five thousand veterans will be provided with housing and transport benefits and 10 000 with healthcare.
The Military Veterans Department’s budget more than doubled to R45,5 million last year.
In the new financial year it will increase to R51,2 million.
The allocation is increasing at an average annual rate of just under 28% a year and will reach R53,5 million in 2014.
In his reaction to the budget speech yesterday, Mbulelo Raymond Fihla, chairperson of the Azanian People’s Army Military Veterans’ Association — the veteran military wing of Pan Africanist Congress of Azania — said that it was long overdue.
“We are happy that the government has finally recognised the plight of the veterans and that they will be attended to. It is a major step. This is commendable as it is the first time that such will be happening in this country.”
Serame Nameh Mogale, the provincial secretary of the ANC’s military veteran wing, the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association, also welcomed the news.
Mogale called for strict measures to ensure that only bona fide veterans received the benefits.