Veterans campaign stuck in donga

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Babalo Ndenze

A CAMPAIGN by the Department of Military Veterans to update its database so it can provide benefits to former soldiers and cadres seems to have hit a snag as members of the Cape Corps and Namibian ex-combatants come forward unexpectedly to also stake their claims.

The department is also set to miss its target to integrate its old database of 57 000 veterans with an updated and verified list by more than half, with just 20 000 recorded as of last week, according to the department’s national co-ordinator, Qondi Jali. It had hoped to complete the process by next Friday.

The Cape Corps was a battalion of coloured men from the Western Cape and was established primarily to be dispatched to East Africa in 1916 during World War I. The unit was also active in the SA Army during apartheid.

Jali said many of the Namibian veterans held dual citizenship and were coming forward saying they also qualified for benefits.

The Namibians were active during the Namibian War of Independence, also known as the South African Border War, between 1966 and 1988.

“We are still capturing vets that qualify, those that were in the Certified Personnel Register submitted in 1994 when all formations were coming together,” said Jali.

“The project is to update the information that we have. It’s a re-registration and we’re busy compiling a list of people on our database, which is outdated,” Jali said.

He said during the campaign other veterans, who were not on the register of 1994, had come forward to claim benefits. “The Cape Corps say they’re not included in the database and also the Namibian forces that fell under South West Africa are also coming up and saying they also qualify. Some have South African citizenship and dual citizenship,” said Jali.


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