homes for veterans

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) says KwaZulu-Natal's initiative to build houses for former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and the Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla) cadres should also include former self-defence unit (SDUs) and protection unit members.

"They were fighting against apartheid but nothing is said about them," provincial IFP chairman Mntomuhle Khawula, said.

"It's good to acknowledge the role that veterans played during apartheid but we do not know where the line is being drawn," Khawula said.

"We believe that all people who were involved in the struggle should benefit, not only those who went into exile."

The pioneering housing benefit scheme was conceptualised because a number of military veterans are facing challenges, such as a lack of income and a failure to produce the documentation necessary for collateral purposes when they want to open bank accounts or start businesses.

The former MK and Apla liberation fighters told the department of housing that they were facing hardships and did not own houses though they had contributed to the fight against apartheid.

"We believe that it is our responsibility to throw them a lifeline," local government, housing and traditional affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said at the opening in northern KwaZuluNatal on Saturday.

"They have made sacrifices for freedom that all of us are enjoying today," Mabuyakhulu said.

He said there were "a number of reasons for starting the scheme for military veterans in the province".

"Most of them are not bankable and are not gainfully employed," he said. "As a result they have fallen on hard times.

"If you have a house you can use it as a collateral to start a business."

The department will also build houses for other people with special needs, such orphans whose parents had died from HIV-Aids-related illnesses.