Cape Town - A two-year battle to get his military pension has yielded no results for a local man years after he served his country.
South African National Defence Force veteran Sean Baker said he had appendix problems while he was still in the army and it got worse when he went for operations.
“I went for two operations and they both didn’t go well. The second one made it worse because I got an infection after going through with it,” he said.
Baker said he wants to get a military medical benefit first and the others will follow but it has been difficult for him.
He said at the moment he can’t apply for any benefit because when he went to the department’s provincial office he was told he first needs to be registered in the database.
“I have been trying to get on the database for two years now and every time there is something else they require,” he said.
Baker said he doesn't know what else to do because he feels he is being denied what is entitled to him after his service.
He alleged that the department’s official who he has been dealing with has been rude to him for no apparent reason.
The benefits of being a South African military veteran are Housing; free access to military health services; free or subsidised access to public transport; skills acquisition and education support; job placement; burial support; entrepreneurial support services counselling and military pension.
National spokesperson for the department Phumeza Dzuguda said Baker is not yet on the military veterans’ database.
“Mr Baker has contacted the DMV to register and was advised by a colleague on the process to follow. He is supposed to request his service certificate from the South African National Defence Force which has a different process from us,” she said.
Dzuguda said another colleague has also been in contact on the process of his application but due to some of the missing mandatory documents, it cannot be finalised as yet.
She said the department has not yet started to pay out pensions to military veterans. Once the pension is available, the process of applications, including the criteria will be communicated to the military veterans.
“For any military veteran to receive the 11 benefits that are stipulated in the Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011, he or she has to be registered in the national military veterans’ database,” she added.
Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) member Alfred Willie said there are a lot of veterans who never received benefits.
He said most of them did not know where to go to apply in order to get the benefits.
“It is very bad that the very same people we fought for are the same ones denying us our special pension by adding technicalities in the processes,” he said.