Ramaphosa commits to address struggle veterans’ issues
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, held a dialogue with disgruntled members of liberation struggle military groups on Tuesday. The president made a commitment that issues raised would be addressed.
The grouping, which consists of about 11 military associations who fought in the struggle against apartheid, has been unhappy about what it termed social and economic exclusion.
Some members staged protests outside the Union Buildings in November and handed over a list of demands. They appealed to government to employ them in state-owned enterprises and law enforcement agencies such as the SANDF and SAPS.
The president responded by appointing a high-level task team led by Mabuza to ventilate concerns. The task team has met on several occasions.
Tuesday’s dialogue, the first of its kind, was held in Pretoria. Ramaphosa and Mabuza are expected to hold another one next year.
Azania Military Veterans spokesperson Percy Phake, whose organisation has about 10 000 members, said it was pleased with the engagements.
He said government has promised to further engage on a once-off gratuity for struggle veterans.
Phake said government has agreed to look into the legalities of integrating struggle veterans into law enforcement arms of the state.
He said the Presidency has also agreed to seek assistance from various departments and provincial premiers on the plight of former veterans.
“We have not achieved all overnight, but we have managed to make positive strides on behalf of military veterans. We reiterate that we will not allow a situation where the lives of liberation struggle veterans are undermined or erased in the history books of this country.”
Other issues military veterans drew attention to included education, pensions and presidential pardons.