Koevoet to wage war in Parliament

December 3, 2014, 2:58pm

Koevoet to wage war in Parliament

Former apartheid soldiers who have won two seats under the banner of the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) have promised to pass two controversial motions that will ruffle the feathers of the ruling Swapo and the official opposition DTA in the National Assembly after March 21 next year.
The ex-South-West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet fighters yesterday accused Swapo of oppressing them and the DTA of betraying them.
They say the motions they will present in Parliament next year will compel the Swapo government to recognise them as war veterans and pay them pension money.
They say this pension money was handed to the incoming Namibian government at independence by the then South African apartheid regime.
The other motion, WRP MP-elect Willem Beukes said yesterday, will compel the DTA to admit that it lied and betrayed the former soldiers by not giving them a political home after independence, as Swapo had to its liberation soldiers.
Beukes, who is one of two ex-soldiers who are headed to the National Assembly next year, told Namibian Sun that the fight will now be waged from within the chambers through motions.
“We will introduce motions to discuss the history of the indigenous people of this country. We will not leave the aspect of our pension money out of the discussions,” said Beukes.
According to him, the then apartheid regime handed over N$36 million at that time Namibia become independent, so that the former apartheid soldiers could receive a pension.
He yesterday called on the pension money plus interest to be paid to the 30 000 former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers.
Beukes said their families and children have also been affected by the Namibian’s government decision not to accord them war veteran status and its refusal to pay them their pension.
“Our motion will include our women and children, whose academic years have been lost. When you look at the street kids, most of them are our children. The Swapo government must rectify all this oppression they exercised on us and the pain and losses over the past 25 years.”
Swapo Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba said he will wait for Beukes and the WRP to bring the motion in Parliament before he comments.
“I congratulate them for their victory, no matter how small. They worked hard. In Parliament there ways of doing things and I will wait for them to say those things in Parliament. We cannot discuss Parliament now. Parliament is only next year,” Mbumba said.
About the DTA, Beukes did not mince words, saying the party had failed to take care of them and that is why they “ended up in the hands of the enemy”.
“They promised us at the time that they will support us, but they never did. This entire time we did not have any political support,” Beukes said.
He had earlier accused the DTA of trying to use the SWATF-Koevoet issue “to score another political constituency”.
The DTA had announced early on during its election campaign that it had received over 13 000 ex-SWATF and Koevoet soldiers into its stable.
DTA President McHenry Venaani yesterday called Beukes a “political novice with no experience”.
“How can they put a motion against the DTA? The DTA was not controlling the army. I will not represent their welfare alone, I will represent the welfare of all Namibians,” Venaani said.
“I will raise the issue of Koevoets like I have always done since 2007. He [Beukes] has his focus wrong and that comes from an inexperienced background.”
The WRP received over 13 000 votes in the just-ended National Assembly polls.

Elvis Muraranganda the Namibian Sun