Military veterans' database contaminated - defence minister

2016-11-11 17:41
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Picture: AFP)

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town – South Africa's military veterans' database is contaminated, Parliament heard on Friday.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was briefing Parliament's joint standing committee of defence on Friday when she told MPs that one of the biggest challenges they still faced was the database, which was not fully verified.

They had no proof whether some of the people currently on the list were real military veterans or, she said, just people wanting access to the housing, health, education, burial support and pension benefits.

"I am not yet convinced that everybody who is accessing those benefits in fact does qualify for them. I have been saying this [to the team], for as long as we have not verified all of the people in the database we are going to run out of money," she said.

There were a number of complaints about benefits for military veterans, she said.

"But I want you to understand we roll out benefits to people who are legitimate," she said.

There might come a time when people come to Parliament to complain about their names being taken off the list and there was therefore a need for MPs to understand the reasons, she said.

Tricky situation

"The truth of the matter is the list is contaminated. And if it is contaminated how then are you expected to roll out benefits without verifying?" she said.

The minister was questioned on how the database had become so contaminated that it affected the credibility of the department.

DA MP Shahid Esau said an objective body needed to conduct the verification process, while ANC MP Dumisani Gamede called for sensitivity in the process.

Mapisa-Nqakula said it was a very tricky situation.

"There are people who deliberately come out and lie about their credentials. Sometimes you run into someone who is trying to get on the database and when you tell them you know they were not military veterans, they get so hurt," she said.

She said she believes it might be access to the military veterans' health card that made people want to get on the database. Cardholders get free access to medical services.

The defence department was presenting some of the results of its turnaround strategy as well as a road map for implementation to improve service delivery to military veterans.

Read more on:    nosiviwe maphisa-nqakula  |  parliament 2016

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