Over 2000 military veterans plan to bring a class-action suit against President Cyril Ramaphosa over unpaid benefits. The former MK, APLA, and AZANLA members are demanding R4 million each.
They claim the President disregarded their demands for reparations and benefits which include pensions, housing, and medical benefits among others.
The veterans who claim to have been vetted by government are accusing Ramaphosa of excluding them in the calculation and dispensation of their benefits. With the first payment expected in April, they say the process will be flawed as they would have not have submitted the necessary inputs.
Their lawyer, Andries Nkome, explains:
“So, the action that they are bringing is to stop the President from giving them a benefit that on his own has decided, without having confirmed that the R4 million per person expectation that they have is the benefit they will be getting from the 1st of April grant. The President made mention of this in parliament on several occasions and the one thing we are seeking to institute this action simply because he is not indicating how much our clients will be getting and why is he not involving them in making sure the calculations and the process arrived at jointly and mutually.”
The military veterans are also calling on President Ramaphosa to convene a task team to expedite the matter. Nkome says a task team that handled the matter has also stopped communicating with the veterans.
“In the past, there has been a presidential task team that was set to agree with the veterans as to the benefits they have received. Communication with a structure has also stopped, so we wonder as to how the President on his own can just proceed without consulting our clients.”
Liberation War Veterans
The group comprises MK, APLA, and AZANLA military veterans now under the banner of Liberation War Veterans. Among them are 53 veterans accused of taking two ministers and a deputy minister hostage at the St George’s hotel in October last year.
Last month, they marched to the Union Buildings but there were no recipients to accept their memorandum. They also wrote to the President indicating their intentions to go the legal route if he fails to respond before April. Nkome says they are still awaiting a reply.
“The President has neither acknowledged nor responded to the contents of the letter and we find this very disturbing. It is for that reason that our client had no option but to approach the courts to say they need an engagement with their reparations and benefits.”
Military veterans imbizo
Speaking at the Presidential Imbizo in the North-West on Saturday, Defence Minister, Thandi Modise said her department has been inundated with complaints from war veterans and will commence with military veterans imbizos.
“We have started a military veterans imbizo, we are setting updates we are going to start in the Northern Cape. We are going there, which relates to the veterans. We are not going to change the criteria of recognising military veterans.”
The Presidency was not available for comment.