Veterans plead for chance to join SANDF

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association in the Eastern Cape has urged the government to resume integrating its members into the defence force.

The plea comes in the wake of recent threats by former MK, Apla and IFP members in KwaZulu-Natal to disrupt the 2010 Soccer World Cup if they are not integrated into the defence force.

The newly elected Eastern Cape secretary of the veterans' association, Bandile Ketelo, said he would ask the government to give the association's members another chance to join the defence force.

"Many former guerillas were not assimilated into the armed forces. The government should reopen the process for those who were overlooked.

"Some former guerillas were left out and deserve to be given another chance," he said.

But Ketelo stressed that his association's members were not linked to the KwaZulu-Natal group, which calls itself the South African Unintegrated Forces.

He said the MK veterans' association in the Eastern Cape did not know if the KwaZulu-Natal group included genuine former MK men.

The MK veterans' association also wants the government to amend the Special Pensions Act.

Ketelo argued that when the legislation was introduced there was not adequate consultation with all the concerned parties.

"We aren't happy with the age limit of 35. It isn't fair for the members who were active at a very young age.

" Despite their age they were fully involved in our activities," he said.

He said the association would approach the provincial government regarding issues affecting the former cadres, including their welfare.

The new leadership of the MK veterans' association was elected at a conference in Alice at the weekend.