Military veterans in the Free State say many of them are destitute and need jobs and other opportunities that will enhance their livelihoods.
They say they need access to health care services for veterans without having to travel to 3 Millitary Hospital for medical attention.
The veterans marched to the Free State Premier’s office in Bloemfontein to hand over a memorandum of their demands.
Left out in the cold
In the small but peaceful march the Military Veterans accused government of failing to fulfill its duty of implementing the Military Veterans Act.
Veterans say they should be recognised for the sacrifices they made in the service in the democratisation of South Africa.
They demand Military Veterans’ desk in every municipality for easy access.
Veterans say they’ve been left out in the cold.
The spokesperson for the group, Lebohang Melato, says they are tired of being sent from pillar to post.
“Our main complaint is that it has been 11 years already since the enactment of the Military Veteran’s Act, but so far as it is in the Free State, no dissemination of benefits has been affected. Yes, we might be saying that there are maybe 50 houses that were built in the province and mainly in Bloemfontein. But when it comes to other regions houses are built but those houses are now dilapidated because they give us houses without giving us jobs, how are we going to maintain those houses.”
Widows of the veterans
Some of the widows of the veterans say they continue to suffer.
One widow says, “ We’ve been struggling as the widows and orphans of the Free State. Our government does not give a damn about us. It does not care about us, so we are demanding answers. We want all those 11 benefits to get them also.”
Another says, “My President we are suffering. Our husbands fought for this country, but we are struggling. Please help us. My Premier, my President we are suffering as widows and orphans please help.”
Free State MEC for Cooperative Governance, Mxolisi Dukwana says restoring the dignity of the lives of the Military Veterans is important.
Dukwana says they will meet with Deputy President, David Mabuza, next week to discuss, amongst others, issues raised by Military Veterans.
“We are going to have a meeting with the Deputy President on the 26th and the task team and those who will be meeting will look into the memorandum and we would then give a respond afterward.”
Military veterans in Free State have given the provincial government seven days to respond to their memorandum of demand.
Poor socio-economic support
Over the weekend Mabuza was in Mahikeng, in the North West, addressing Military Veterans. He is doing so in his capacity as the chairperson of the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans.
Military Veterans across the country have been crying foul about poor socio-economic support and not receiving their pensions and benefits. The task team has already held engagements in Limpopo, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape.
Mabuza promised military veterans that they should be receiving their pension pay-outs soon. This as many have previously struggled to access their benefits
Deputy President David Mabuza addresses military veterans