The DA believes that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, should extend the deadline for the registration of military veterans. The registration process of 2012, which has been taking place between 28 May and 13 July, has been chaotic and confusing. The DA calls on government to review the process and extend the deadline.
At the end of May, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans called on all those listed on the military veterans’ database to re-register. This includes all those who served in the statutory and liberation forces as well as their dependents. Those who had not registered during the previous integration process in 1994 were also asked to register.
Poor advertising on behalf of government and a lack of clear explanations as to the purpose of this registration process have led to confusion and frustration for many military veterans.
Many veterans are under the impression that they will be receiving benefits after they have completed this registration, but this is not the case. The department has yet to clarify how benefits will be rolled out and the means test which will be used to determine who will qualify for benefits.
The Department was supposed to establish provincial offices by the end of June. This process has not been completed and would have gone a long way toward assisting the military veterans with the correct information.
Although the Military Ombudsman has been created, it is not at full capacity and will not be able to deal with the many complaints which will arise from the lack of clarity on this process.
The poor management of this process by the Department has incubated serious misinformation and a number of scams in which vulnerable individuals are being exploited. Consequently, many veterans have either failed to register or have the false expectation that registration will necessarily result in benefits being received.
The department should analyse the flaws in the current process, extend the deadline by at least a month and do a proper nationwide advertising campaign stating who must register and where they must register. This will assist in clarifying the situation and provide more time for those who need to register to do so.