28 Nov 2018 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 28 NOV (NAMPA) Former members of the South West Africa Territorial Forces (SWATF) and those of the erstwhile counter-terrorism police known as Koevoet, suffered another defeat in the quest to be recognised as war veterans on Wednesday.
In a parliamentary statement issued on Wednesday, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Sebastian Karupu reported that the committee has found that SWATF and Koevoet ex-soldiers do not qualify to be recognised as war veterans.
Such group of people should rather apply for social grants just like ordinary Namibians, in order to also benefit, should they meet the set criteria, Karupu said.
The Member of Parliament was responding to a petition by the Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet) to the committee a week ago, in which it challenged Government on the legality of the Veterans Act, which guides the recognition of war veterans.
Namvet leader Ndeunyema Frans Jabulani in the petition said the Veterans Act, Act No 2 of 2008 is illegal and contravenes the Namibian Constitution.
The organisation further demanded the Acts replacement with another which will include former fighters who fought from both sides during the war of the liberation of Namibian.
They also want funds the then apartheid South African Government reportedly gave to them (SWAFT and Koevoet members) as demobilisation allowances to be paid to them by the Namibian Government.
They further demanded that the Government should provide pension to all eligible war veterans including them, while they should be given priority health care, counselling services, education, training and skills development.
Namvet informed the committee that approximately 3 885 former SWATF and Koevoet members are without limbs and suffering from war related deceases.
Karupu however dismissed the demands, noting that the group should seek for the demanded services as ordinary Namibians and not as war veterans.
Ex-SWATF and Koevoet members like all citizens of Namibia, should register themselves for social services the Government is providing. Those in cities and towns should register with the Food Bank and those who qualify for social grant should register for social grants, he said.
The MP advised Ex-SWATF and Koevoet members suffering from war-related diseases to seek assistance from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.