Budget hike for military veterans

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IOL Business Budget Pravin Feb24 2011 REUTERS Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Photo: Reuters

Funding for the fledgling department of military veterans will increase steadily over the next three years as it rolls out social support for former combatants, Treasury said on Wednesday.

After much speculation, budget documents released by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday gave an indication of the number of veterans that stand to benefit.

The estimates of national expenditure show that it plans to give 16 000 veterans access to health care, provide pension and transport benefits to 15 000, and supply 7 000 with housing by 2014/15.

Implementation will start gradually in the coming budget year, with plans to provide 8 000 veterans with pensions, 5 000 with housing and transport benefits and 10 000 with health care.

The department's budget more than doubled to R45.5 million last year and will increase to R51.2 million in 2012/13.

The budget is increasing at an average annual rate of just under 28 percent a year between 2010 and 2014, when it will reach R53.5 million.

The lion's share of the initial budget allocation went on cleaning up government's database of military veterans, a process that still has not been completed.

The confusion about the potential number of beneficiaries drew protest from opposition parties that the Military Veterans Bill, passed by Parliament last year, broke legislative rules because it could not be costed. – Sapa

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