KZN government to improve military veterans' economic well-being
Military veterans are set to receive housing, be employed as contractors by the KwaZulu-Natal transport department and also be "factored" in the procurement processes of other government departments.
Speaking at the funeral of liberation stalwart and Umkhonto weSizwe military veteran Amos Ndwalane on Saturday, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said the provincial government's commitment was to treat "all military veterans with care and dignity and, working with national government, to progressively improve their economic well-being."
He explained that when former president Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary general Ace Magashule handed over a house to Ndwalane two months ago, they didn’t expect him to die so soon.
Ndwalane, who had narrowly missed the hangman's noose during apartheid, died after a long illness. Ndwalane was sentenced to death by the apartheid regime and his sentence was later commuted to 10 years in 1985 by the Appeal Court.
"As we announced during the state of the province last month, over the 2019/2020 financial year the department of human settlements and public works will deliver 9,101 serviced sites and 16,791 housing units which will target mostly the poor sections of our community.
"This will involve the upgraded informal settlements and the provision of housing in rural areas and our townships. We wish to reiterate our stance that the housing programme must include women, youth, the disabled and, of course, military veterans for housing provision," Zikalala said at the special provincial official funeral on Saturday.
He said the department of transport's Eyesizwe contractors had been instructed to include military veterans as contractors.
"We also expect that all departments, including the department of economic development tourism and environmental affairs, will factor military veterans in their procurement," he said.
Zikalala called on the people of KwaZulu-Natal to rise to defend the community like Ndwalane had done for most of his life.
He said "grimy restraints" such as economic constraints, the high unemployment rate and social ills such as teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, political killings and crime plagued the province.
"As government and people of KwaZulu-Natal we must reaffirm our belief that we cannot sit idle as victims of these crimes and do nothing about them. When the call arose for community activists of the 70s, 80s to the early 90s to rise in defence of the community, men and women such as Baba Amos Ndwalane stood up to be counted.
"We too refuse to be passive and helpless victims. Today we must use the memory of stalwarts such as Baba uNdwalane to become leading agents in the fight against social ills as we battle to build and develop a KwaZulu Natal that is equal, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous," he said.