UPM advocates for Namvet plight

01 Dec 2018 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 01 DEC (NAMPA) – The United People’s Movement (UPM) has advocated for the recognition as war veterans of ex-South West Africa Territorial Forces (SWATF) and those of the erstwhile counter terrorism police, Koevoet.
UPM Member of Parliament, Jan van Wyk in a parliamentary statement on Thursday challenged the legality of the Veterans Act, Act No 2 of 2008, which he labelled as being unconstitutional as it is reportedly in violation of Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution.
Van Wyk is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, which was tasked to look into a petition submitted to the committee by the Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet).
He said he did not sign the report on the matter, which was submitted to Parliament on Wednesday by the standing committee chairperson, Sebastian Karupu, as he was not in agreement with most of its recommendations.
Van Wyk noted that the legality of the Veterans Act could easily be challenged in a competent High Court.
“I would like to remind the honourable members that other legislation such as the Namibian Citizens Act, Act No 14 of 1990, the Anti-Corruption Act, Act No 08 of 2003 and the Stock Theft Amendment Act of 2004 went through the same processes, but could not stand the test of time when tested in the High Court of Namibia,” he said.
The Member of Parliament noted that the former soldiers had become victims of circumstance and are “left at the mercy of God Almighty and in the hands of the Namibian Government and the former occupying forces”.
He said it is alleged that former SWATF members who were recruited into the Namibian Defence Force after independence were posted far from their families and under difficult conditions and had to endure victimisation, discrimination and constructive dismissals.
Van Wyk called on Government to engage the South African government in an effort to address the plight of the former soldiers.
Karupu reported that their committee found that former SWATF and Koevoet members do not qualify to be recognised as war veterans.
“This group should rather apply for social grants if they qualify, just like ordinary Namibians,” he said in response to Namvet’s petition.