Proper list of military veterans being compiled, says President Ramaphosa
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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa says there will soon be a list of those who claim to be military veterans.
Responding to oral questions in the National Assembly, Ramaphosa said there was a need to be clear about the identity of the military veterans.
There have been concerns about the ages of those who claim to be military veterans though they looked to be youthful.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said it was unlikely anyone below the age of 35 could have been active in the armed struggle.
“Is it not advisable as part of the presidential task team’s terms of reference that they establish with the leaders of liberation movements the names of the entire group of people who claim to be veterans appear?” Holomisa asked.
Ramaphosa said one of the task team’s terms of reference was to do verification of the military veterans.
“They are involved in putting together a proper register of military veterans, which should be verified through and by various liberation armies that we had. We will soon have a full list of everyone who claims to be a military veteran,” he said.
“I should say that not everyone who has claimed that title or label is a military veteran. There are others who are just accompanying others.”
The president said they would ensure that those who claimed to be military veterans were true military veterans and that they were known by their organisations.
“Once we have great clarity on that, we hope we will fully implement all matters that we need to implement and make sure we give dignity, respect and recognition to those who were even prepared to die so we may have freedom,” he said.
Ramaphosa said they were determined to do as much as they could to empower the military veterans, including involving them in entrepreneurship through skills and training.
“We are obviously so keen where military veterans have capability to take up procurement opportunities. They should be brought in and be able to participate in that,” he said.
“They should have a sense that they are active participants in the economy of our country whether it is a procurement opportunity, they should be able to participate,” he said.
Ramaphosa dismissed suggestions that the recent hostage drama of presidential task team members by the military veterans could be attributed to delay due to the absence of Deputy President David Mabuza due to ill-health, among other things.
He said Mabuza had spent a lot of time consulting with military veterans, working through various issues and taking time to listen to them.
“I also finally met them, and as we met, we mapped what their needs are and how they wanted them addressed.”
Ramaphosa said Mabuza continued to be seized with the matter and that he would finalise it before giving him a report.
“This matter is receiving the highest consideration with a great deal of seriousness. I do treat it very seriously,” he said.
“I would like our military veterans to have a deep sense of knowing that we do care for them, and we want to do everything that is good for them,” Ramaphosa added.