Military veterans to have easy access to hospitals

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pretoria - The Department of Military Veterans is to embark on a programme of issuing healthcare cards to military veterans so that they can have easy and free access to the country’s health military hospitals.

The healthcare cards will be issued to military veterans that have updated their files with the Department of Military Veterans.

The process of issuing the cards will be done in phases starting with Gauteng and the Eastern Cape from 12 – 26 March. These will be followed by KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Western Cape, North West, Free State, Mpumalanga and North Cape.

Director General of the Department of Military Veterans, Tsepe Motumi explained that the issuing of the healthcare cards is a significant step in the direction of ensuring that the department rolls out the social benefits stipulated in the Military Veterans Act, no 18 of 2011.

“The Act enjoins us to ensure that the military veterans, especially those from the Non-Statutory Force (NSF), are treated with dignity, honoured, memorialised and empowered in honour of the many sacrifices they made in bringing about freedom and democracy in this country as well as enhancing social cohesion and nation building,” Motumi explained during a media briefing on Sunday.

To date, out of 56 505 military veterans captured in the database of the department, 13 768 have updated their files. Motumi noted that priority attention in the issuing of the healthcare cards will be given to those veterans captured on the database, especially those from the NSF, who for many decades did not enjoy such benefits.

He called upon all military veterans who have updated their files to cone forth and receive their cards in the respective places as scheduled.

He also call upon the South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA) and its affiliate Associations especially Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans, MKMVA, the Azanian People Liberation Army Military Veterans (APLAMVA) who had never had such benefits for years, to work closely with the department to ensure that this critically needed service is provided to the veterans sooner rather than later.

“We also call upon those military veterans who have not yet updated their files to do so as soon as possible so that they can have access to these services.”

The schedule for issuing these cards will be as follows, 12 - 13 March, cards will be issued at Gauteng in Lenasia, catering for Soweto, Johannesburg South, Vaal and the West Rand.

On 14 – 15 March, issuing will take place at sickbay Gauteng in Gezina, Pretoria. It will cater for Pretoria and neighbouring North West areas such as Brits. 

On 19 March, it will take place at sickbay Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape and on 22 March, the issuing will take place at the sickbay East London and Eastern Cape. The date for Port Elizabeth will be announced soon.

On 26 March, issuing of cards will take place at sickbay Heidelburg, Gauteng.  All those who come for their healthcare cards should bring their green barcoded Identification Documents. For more information the military veterans, their dependants as well as associations can contact the department on (012) 671-1890 and 076 402 9070 or 078 099 2564.

Within the last three years since the department was established by Presidential Proclamation in December 2009, significant progress has been made.

Among the milestones achieved include creating the necessary enabling legislative and policy environment for service by putting place the Military veterans Act 18 of 2011.

Motumi said they will be finalising the Regulations of the Act soon in order to ensure that they move speedily with implementation of the provisions of the Act including the roll out of the benefits

“We are now working with Statistics South Africa to speed up the cleaning up of the database of the Military Veterans with the intention of making sure that no military veteran and his or her dependant is left out when we roll out the benefits.

The department is also forging ahead in honouring and memorialising the military veterans as part of honouring their 50th anniversary.

The department has further made significant strides in facilitating access to free health services to no less than 4 000 military veterans. Motumi said the department aims to increase even more this year.

“This is very significant given the fact that the military veterans are often faced with  myriad of illnesses borne of the conditions under which they had to operate over many years including been in exile, military skirmishes,  imprisonment detention as well as torture for many a year.

“We have also been able to assist scores of families with burial of military veterans, particularly those living in conditions of abject poverty, unemployment and destitution. We have also signed a MoU with the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs which is going to provide military veterans with approximately 750 job opportunities.”

One hundred bursaries have since been provided to military veterans and their dependants with the number expected to increase this year. –