Frustrated military veterans in the Free State say they continue to live in squalor. Residents of a site dedicated to the veterans in Riebeeckstad, Welkom, have complained about poor service delivery and overdue benefits.
Some say the houses that were given to them are defective and others complain that they haven’t received their benefits in three years.
Military veterans say they struggle to make ends meet. They say they live in dilapidated houses. Several houses are in bad state due to shoddy workmanship, while others have no electricity. They say they are yet to receive title deeds.
“The fees of my children have not been paid from 2019 up until today. The transport of the children have not been paid from 2019 up until today, Where is the money going? What are they doing about that because its been allocated every year but they don’t pay the childrens’ school fees?”
“Our houses are not in good standard, we’ve got problem of infrastructure, the roads. We don’t have services that we are supposed to get from the municipality of Matjhabeng,” says one of the veterans.
Military veterans want the establishment of an office dedicated to address their plight. Earlier, they have also marched to the Free State government headquarters to hand over their memorandum of demands. Military veteran Sechaba Khacha says they also demand skills development.
“When it comes to skills development, the department does not allow us to go to trainings that we want to do so. They prefer to give us trainings that they want us to do. So it means we can’t choose the training we want. We wanted to do the RPAD maintenance and repair training that is last year, but they did not approve it.”
Government says it’s aware of the concerns. It says the verification process for house ownership is at an advanced stage. Free State Cooperative Governance spokesperson Sello Dithebe says title deeds will be issued once the process is done.
“It is important that people that occupy those houses have been verified and so far there are a few cases and we will not go into details about those because we don’t work alone but together with the Department of Military Veterans as well,” says Dithebe.
Veterans hope to benefit from the stimulus package which has been approved by government.
In related video below, military veterans in Free State march to hand over memorandum of demands: Lebogang Melato