‘No soldier should retire without owning a house’

2012-05-17 16:04

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu will again try her hand at adding more improvements to soldiers’ working and living conditions.

In her 2012 Budget Vote Speech delivered this afternoon Sisulu undertook to ensure that:

» No soldier retires without owning a house.

» Children of female soldiers deployed in foreign countries are looked after by the state up to the age of five.

» Soldiers’ salaries are adjusted to recognise years of service instead of the current practice of using ranks to determine salary.

All these efforts are meant to boost morale in the SANDF, said Sisulu.

The Defence Force Service Commission has been tasked with prioritising the adjustment of salaries and concluding the matter within eight months.

“We are essentially de-linking salaries from rank because of the sheer size of the defence force. A great number of our soldiers are trapped in particular ranks with no prospect of improvement of their salaries,” said Sisulu.

These adjustments will start reflecting in the next financial year.

Sisulu tabled a R37 billion budget, which she still said is inadequate for the needs of the military.

In ensuring that soldiers can afford owning a home, the Department of Defence will set up a housing allowance scheme.

“Housing guarantee will be guaranteed to the value of 20% of the home loan,” Sisulu said.

“We intend to negotiate a pact with financial institutions where the employer can stand part guarantee to negotiate more favourable rates with financial institutions in a collective manner.”

Sisulu said “no soldier will ever retire without a house as an asset”.

She added: “There are numerous soldiers in the SANDF who unknowingly sacrifice their financial future in addition to all the other sacrifices they make by not investing in an essential asset of home ownership.”

Sisulu also announced that all children of soldiers deployed between the ages of three months to five years will be taken care of by the state with the provision of free primary school care for deployed soldiers.

“A soldier gives his entire time and life to the State. The State takes on the responsibility to look after him as a unit of his family, the children of the soldiers are therefore our responsibility,” said Sisulu.

“When their mothers are deployed in the DRC or Sudan we should ensure the children’s welfare is not compromised.”

With all these benefits, Sisulu said she was expecting discipline within the ranks of the military and a service to the state that will honour the lives of those who died for freedom.

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