South Africa: Military Veterans Education Support Benefit Update
Military Veterans Education Support Benefit Update:
It is mandated by both the constitution and the Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011 to provide education to military veterans and their dependants.
The Department of Military Veterans is cognisant that education is a fundamental constitutional right to all citizens of the country and all military veterans. The Department has been providing education support to military veterans and their dependants since 2013 with meagre numbers and this has increased exponentially as the years progressed.
Consequently the Department has been facing challenges in providing education support for military veterans and their dependants due to high demand of this benefit amidst to limited resources. The critical challenge is the shortage of funds due the high demand of this benefit.
The education support benefit has delivered a number of graduates which include a medical doctor.
The Department remains committed to providing education support to all continuing qualifying military veterans and their dependants. The Department will be opening applications for all qualifying continuing learners and students for the academic year 2019.
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the Department are currently consulting with Departments of Higher and Basic Education as well as other spheres of government to find lasting solutions in the provision of education.
These financial and other related constraints obliged the Department to review the implementation of the benefit and considering the full implementation of the Department’s education policy. This will also include the National policy on free education as enunciated by government in January 2018.
Furthermore Regulations pertaining to the provision of education support will be completed by no later than October 2018. This will go a long way in ensuring seamless provision of the education support to military veterans and their dependants.
Given the financial constraints and challenges, the Department is also looking at other viable means of delivering this benefit. This includes soliciting support from the private sector and other state owned entities in order to reduce the financial resources constraints.
The Department will soon undertake roadshows to provinces to talk to military veterans and their affected dependants about the challenges in a bid to find better lasting solutions.
It will also be engaging provincial and local governments and institutions of basic and higher learning to find lasting solutions.
An integrated team has been established with stakeholders such as South African National Military Veterans Associations (SANMVA) and Advisory Council to assist the Department with finding lasting solutions.
Source: Republic of South Africa