Today is the deadline for the completion of the military veterans registration process initiated by the Department of Military Veterans. Military veterans need to be registered in order to be able to apply for benefits.
I will today be writing to Jerome Chaake, Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, to request that a full parliamentary inquiry is launched into the chaos that has accompanied the registration process.
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, must answer for her department’s poor handling of this situation, and the confusion it has caused among affected members of the South African public.
At the end of May, the Department 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, their dependents, and those who had not registered during the previous integration process in 1994.
On a visit yesterday to one of the registration points, Fort iKapa in Goodwood, I discovered that registration at that site had been closed on 17 June.
This is almost a full month before the deadline for registration. I was also informed that registration would be opening again from 16-27 July. This information has not been distributed by the Department and has served to create further confusion for military veterans and their families.
It seems that similar problems have been experienced at registration points across the country.
This process has been characterised by a range of problems, including:
The Department has described this registration process as a “staggered approach”, and has said that there will be more registration dates.
However, Parliament needs to investigate how the Minister could have allowed this process to be so poorly handled, and why her department failed repeatedly to provide military veterans and their families with the basic information they required.