Military Veterans Bill [B1-2011]: public hearings (day 2)

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Defence and Military Veterans

28 March 2011
Chairperson: Mr M Motimele (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

On the second day of public hearings on the Military Veterans Bill, the Committee was briefed by the Departments of Social Development, Health, Transport and Human Settlements on the provision of the benefits to veterans in terms of the Bill.

The Department of Social Development was responsible for providing social assistance (i.e. pensions), welfare services (i.e. psycho-social counselling), institutional support and capacity development for veterans and technical support to the Department of Military Veterans and the South African National Military Veterans Association.  The Department currently provided funding for a pilot half-way house for veterans established by the Heritage Association in Gauteng.  The Department cooperated with other Government Departments in the Justice cluster to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.  The records of the Department did not indicate whether or not a current recipient of benefits was a military veteran.  The Department was reliant on the database of the Department of Military Veterans to calculate the estimated number of beneficiaries and the estimated cost of providing the benefits provided for in the Bill.  The Department had attempted to develop costing estimates based on the data provided by the Department of Military veterans but was unable to provide any projected figures as the information available was not considered to be reliable or accurate.

Members asked questions to establish what benefits were already provided to veterans by the Department and what the estimated costs would be for providing the benefits in terms of the Bill.

The Department of Health provided services to 84% of the South African population and employed 270,000 health personnel.  Details of the different categories of health care professions in each province were provided.  The Department was governed by the National Health Act of 2003.  The briefing included a summary of the Department’s responsibilities for health, the eligibility for free health services in public health establishments, the provision of emergency treatment and the provision of health services at public health establishments in terms of the Act.  The services provided in terms of the Bill would include access to health care and dedicated counseling and treatment to veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.  Primary health care user fees had been abolished, the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule was used to determine the ability of patients to pay for services but the indigent were not required to pay for health care.  The Department was unable to provide information on the cost of providing health care to veterans, which would be determined at the National Health Council level.

Members asked questions about the number of health care professionals working in each province, the availability of bursaries to students and if health care benefits would be provided at public health facilities, military health facilities or both.

The Department of Transport provided a general briefing on the status of public transport but made no specific reference to the provision of the subsidised transport benefits as envisaged by the Bill.

The Committee requested a detailed, written document from the Department by 12 April 2011 that indicated how the Department would provide the transport benefits to military veterans in accordance with the Bill.

The Department of Human Settlements had developed a comprehensive social assistance package for military veterans with the collaboration of the South African National Defence Force in 2006.  The package included the adjustment of the housing subsidy qualification criteria for single veterans, the provision of preferential access to housing subsidies and rental accommodation to veterans and prioritising the planning and funding made available to assist veterans.  The adjusted qualification criteria were incorporated into the 2009 National Housing Code.  Details were provided of the implementation of the strategy, the role played by the SANDF and SANMVA and the registration process.  To date, 174 housing units had been provided to military veterans in six provinces.

Members asked questions about the nomination and application process applicable to veterans, whether the housing units provided were in urban or rural areas, the income criteria applicable to applicants, if the dependants of deceased veterans were eligible for housing benefits, the cooperation between the Department of Human Settlements and other Government Departments and the minimum unit standard that would be provided.  The Department was asked to provide a more detailed submission on the implementation of the Bill by 12 April 2011.

Members were concerned that the Departments appeared to be unprepared for delivering the services and benefits provided for in the Bill.  The Department of Military Veterans would ultimately be held accountable for any failure to deliver by the other Departments.

Meeting report

Briefing by Department of Social Development (DSD)
Mr Oupa Ramachela, Chief Director, DSD presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).

Clause 5 of the Bill makes provision for benefits to be provided to military veterans and their dependants.  The strategy developed by the DSD focused on providing social assistance (i.e. pensions), welfare services (i.e. psycho-social counselling), institutional support and capacity development for veterans and technical support for the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).

The DSD had utilised the database compiled by the DMV to develop different scenarios and to project the cost implications over the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period.  The final financial implications would only be available once the database had been finalised by the DMV.  The Social Assistance Act would be amended to include the proposed benefits provided in the Bill.  The DSD was committed to provide psycho-social interventions, for example post-traumatic stress counselling and support and assistance with family integration and support programmes.  The DSD cooperated with other Government Departments in the Justice cluster to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations.  Institutional support was aimed at assisting veterans to actively contribute to society.  Technical support was provided to the DMV and the South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA).  The DSD was funding a half-way facility in Gauteng established by the Heritage Association to assist military veterans.

The DMV database was considered to be a critical element in the provision of services and benefits to veterans and dependants.  The database had to be credible, reliable and comprehensive and the DSD was providing technical support to the DMV in consolidating the data.  The process followed to develop the strategy was summarised.

Discussion
Ms P Daniels (ANC) understood that the cost projections were dependant on the accuracy and completeness of the DMV database.  She asked how the DSD had prioritised the recommendations made by the Ministerial Task Team on Military Veterans.

Mr D Maynier (DA) asked how many veterans were already receiving benefits from the DSD in terms of the Department’s current mandate.  He requested details of the costing exercises that had been done by the DSD and an indication of the financial implications over the MTEF period.  He agreed that the database was a critical element and asked why the DSD considered the database to be inadequate.  He asked for an explanation of the ‘War on Poverty tool’ and ‘Masupatsela’ referred to in the presentation document.

Mr J Maake, Chairperson, Joint Standing Committee on Defence requested further clarity on the psycho-social interventions the DSD planned to provide.  He was critical of the efficacy of counselling provided by young persons to aged veterans.

The Chairperson welcomed the delegation of Social Development students from the University of Cape Town attending the hearings.

Ms Dimakatso Moutloatse, Acting Chief Director: Social Assistance, DSD explained that the Department’s strategy was based on its current mandate of providing social assistance benefits.  Some statistical data was provided by the DMV but was found to be of little use by Alexander Forbes.  The data provided was inconsistent, the age groups were widely spread and the numbers of veterans and their dependants continued to increase.  The DSD was unable to accurately establish the financial implications.

Ms Tsholofelo Moloi, Director, DSD advised that there was a TRC unit within the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD).  The DOJ&CD had requested the DSD to provide counseling services to the family whenever a veteran was re-buried.  Individuals had different responses to pain and the psycho-social services were intended to address the trauma experienced and to provide support.  The family was referred to the provincial services for counseling and to a psychologist if necessary.

Mr Peter Netshipale, Deputy Director-General: Integrated Development, DSD explained that the ‘War on Poverty’ was a programme of the DSD in conjunction with the Department of Rural Development and Statistics South Africa.  The tool was developed to identify which wards were poverty-stricken and was used to list individual members of deprived households and to identify what interventions were required.  The Masupatsela programme recruited the youth for a period of two years.  The programme provided training and exposed the participants to social development issues, particularly in the rural areas.  There were currently 2,000 young volunteers in the programme and the Department planned to triple the number of trainees in the near future.

Mr Ramachela said that the DMV was responsible for the database of military veterans and their dependants.  The DSD utilised the database to develop various scenarios and models for the provision of services and benefits.  The data was derived from the membership records of the military veterans’ organisations and could contain errors and omissions.  The DSD provided support to the DMV in accordance with its mandate.

Ms N Mabedla (ANC) asked if the half-way house project would be extended to other parts of the country.  The Committee had been made aware that a great deal of support was required by veterans throughout the country.

Mr J Masango (DA) asked what assistance was currently provided by the DSD and what additional assistance would be necessary.  He noted that the DSD was concerned over the accuracy of the database and he wondered how secure the information was and if there was any protection against corruption.

Mr Maynier repeated his earlier questions on the number of veterans already receiving benefits and the estimated costs for the MTEF period.

Ms Daniels asked which benefits provided for in the Bill were already provided by the DSD.  She asked if the projected costs were based on inaccurate data received from the DMV.  The age issue was contentious but cognisance needed to be given to the fact that many young persons had participated in the liberation struggle.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) wanted to know what was done by the DSD with regard to providing education, training, skills development, providing jobs, providing business opportunities, subsidised public transport, health services, pensions and housing to veterans and their dependants in accordance with clause 5 of the Bill.

Mr Ramachela replied that the Bill provided the first guidance on a comprehensive framework for Government Departments to deliver services and benefits to veterans.  The benefits related to health, transport and education were the responsibility of the appropriate Department and he was only able to respond on social services.  The DSD worked with the DMV in developing the database and information on the process followed was included in the presentation document.  The scenarios considered by the DSD were based on a high estimate of 120,000, a medium estimate of 80,000 and a low estimate of 50,000 veterans.  An accurate estimate of costs could only be done once the DMV database had been finalised.

Ms Moutloatse advised that the information on veterans covered a very wide age range.  Military veterans expected to be treated differently from other recipients of social benefits.  The Bill made provision for benefits for the dependants of veterans as well.  The DSD was unable to advise how many veterans were already receiving benefits as the records kept by the Department did not indicate if a recipient was a veteran or not.  The DSD was reliant on the information provided by the TRC unit of the DOJ&CD to identify individuals as veterans.  The benefits provided to veterans would be delivered in accordance with the Bill and not in terms of the Social Assistance Act.

Mr Mapena Bok, Director: DSD explained that the half-way house project in Gauteng was a pilot project initiated and managed by the Heritage Association.  The DSD provided funding for the project.  The intention was to extend the initiative to other provinces.  The project included documenting the best practice for such a facility.  The budget for the pilot project was R1.8 million, which included the refurbishment of the building and the provision of services.

Mr Netshipale said that the Bill would provide a platform for the various Government Departments responsible for delivering services.  Currently, there was no legislative guidance available to organs of State.  The DSD supported the Bill and was confident of its ability to implement the provisions on the effective date of the legislation.  He was confident that the Department would be able to overcome any challenges.

Mr Maynier remarked that the DSD was unable to confirm how many veterans were already receiving benefits.  His question concerning the projected costs had not been answered.

Mr Ramachela was unable to provide the estimated figures.  The DSD had to ensure that the Committee was provided with accurate information.  A number of factors had to be taken into account in calculating the estimated costs, for example the age groups, the type of benefit and the number of dependants.  At present, the estimates were merely guess work.

Mr Maynier accepted that the Bill was new and based on a new policy on veterans, that the DMV was responsible for compiling the database and that any estimates were based on assumptions.  Nevertheless, he would like to have some idea of the estimated costs.
Accept a new Bill, policy, DMV and need for assumptions

Ms Moutloatse repeated the estimated number of veterans and Mr Ramachela admitted that the Department was unable to provide any cost estimate.

Briefing by the Department of Health (DOH)
Mr Thulani Masilela, Chief Director: Planning, DOH presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document). 

The national and provincial Departments of Health provided services to 84% of the South African population of 49 million people.  The remaining 16% of the population had medical aid coverage and was served by the private health sector.  The public sector employed 270,000 health personnel but the majority of health care professionals were employed by the private sector.  Details of the different categories of health care professions in each province were provided.  The public health care system provided comprehensive care, district hospital services and regional hospital services.  The DOH had developed a strategy for modernising the tertiary health care services.

The DOH was governed by the National Health Act of 2003.  The briefing included a summary of the Department’s responsibilities for health, the eligibility for free health services in public health establishments, the provision of emergency treatment and the provision of health services at public health establishments in terms of the Act.

The DOH would provide access to health care and dedicated counseling and treatment to veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions in terms of the Bill.  Primary health care user fees had been abolished.  The Uniform Patient Fee Schedule was used by hospitals to determine the ability of patients to pay for services but the indigent were not required to pay for health care.

The DOH supported the Bill and was best placed to provide the proposed health care benefits outlined in clause 5.  The provision of health care services would be within the constraints of the resources available to the Department.  Where necessary, the Department would work with other State entities in the provision of services and benefits to veterans.

Discussion
Mr Mlangeni noted that only 11,309 out of a total of 36,912 doctors worked in the public sector.  There were not enough doctors to adequately serve the population and the citizens of other African countries coming to South Africa for medical treatment.  In the past, municipalities made bursaries available to black students with the proviso that the recipient worked for the municipality for a specified number of years once he/she had qualified.  He asked what programmes were currently in place to increase the number of health care professionals.

Ms Daniels asked what emergency care was provided and what types of care were not provided.  She observed that there were currently a number of challenges in providing health care services.

Mr Maynier said that the Bill made provision for the DMV to enter into service level agreements with the DOH.  He asked if there would be a cost to the DMV for the provision of free health care services to military veterans.  The DSD had been unable to provide the cost estimates but the Committee needed to know what the cost implications of providing the benefits envisaged by the Bill would be.

Mr Masilela agreed that the number of doctors in the country was insufficient.  South Africa had a better doctor/patient ratio but the number of health care professionals was skewed towards the private sector.  The Department made bursaries available to health care students in the various disciplines with the intention to provide resources to the provincial health care services.  Students were required to complete a compulsory period of service before qualifying.  The DOH had implemented the occupational specific dispensation in order to improve the service conditions of health care professionals in the public sector.

Mr Masilela explained that emergency care was provided in life-threatening situations, for example motor vehicle accidents, domestic accidents or drowning.  The DOH conducted investigations in cases where emergency care was not provided and took appropriate action.  Any complaint lodged in terms of clause 7 (b) of the Bill would be investigated and a report submitted to the Advisory Council.

Mr Masilela said that the identification and recognition of a patient as a military veteran was a key issue.  Currently, there was no requirement for a person accessing health care services to be identified as a veteran.  The issue of the service level agreements with the DMV needed further discussion at the level of the National Health Council as this was a matter of policy.  It was necessary to review which benefits and categories were covered by the Bill and by the National Health Act.  The cost of benefits would be determined at the National Health Council level.

Ms Daniels remarked on the number of health care professionals working in the different provinces.

Mr Maynier accepted that the Bill was new and that the DOH would only be in a position to provide cost estimates at a later date.  The DOH had indicated that a costing model had not yet been developed but the DMV had estimated a cost of R13 billion during a previous briefing to the Committee.  The cost of benefits was a matter of policy and must be considered by the Committee.  He asked if veterans would be provided with health care services at military hospitals and/or at public health facilities.  There would be different cost implications if care was provided at military and/or public sector facilities.  He was of the opinion that the cost of R13 billion estimated by the DMV was for the provision of health care at military hospitals and that such an amount was not affordable.

Submission by the Department of Transport (DOT)
Mr Lesiba Manamela, Director: Public Transport, DOT presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).

The legislative and policy framework governing the DOT and the background to the provision of public transport services were provided.  The Department currently spent R3.8 billion p.a. on bus subsidies.  Taxi services were not subsidised.  The presentation document included details of the subsidy distribution per province.  The funding trend illustrated that expenditure had been exceeding the allocation for public transport since 2005/06.  The demand for public transport was growing faster than the funding provided and it was clear that a review of the current policy on public transport was required.  The public transport strategy and action plan was approved by the Cabinet in 2007.  A key focus of the strategy was the introduction of the Integrated Public Transport Networks (IPTN).  Details were provided of the short-term intervention undertaken in 2009 and the progress made with the IPTN programmes.

Discussion
Mr Maziya, Mr Mlambo, Mr Masango, Mr Mlangeni and Mr Maynier agreed that the briefing by the DOT made no reference to the Bill.  The presentation was a general briefing on public transport but did not address the provision of transport benefits to military veterans in terms of the Bill.

Mr Masango asked how the DOT planned to provide public transport to the many veterans living in the remote, rural areas of the country.

Mr Mlangeni pointed out that there would be a legal obligation on the DOT to provide subsidised transport benefits to veterans when the Bill was enacted.

Mr Maynier said that veterans were reliant on subsidised transport to access health care, jobs and the other benefits provided in terms of the Bill.  The Committee required a detailed briefing from the DOT on how the Department planned to deliver the services provided for in the Bill.

Mr Manamela acknowledged that the Department had misunderstood the mandate for the presentation.  The DOT contributed to the provision of transport services to veterans by means of the existing public transport services.  The Department would intervene if the implementation of the public transport strategy was halted by a lack of funding.  Government did not allow subsidy-targeting by privately owned transport companies and the provision of public transport had been facilitated by the State taking ownership of the IPTN’s.  He agreed to provide a more detailed briefing to the Committee at a later date.

The Chairperson requested a detailed written response to the Committee by 12 April 2011.

Briefing by the Department of Human Settlements (DHS)
Mr Martin Maphisa, Deputy Director-General: Policy, Research and Monitoring, DHS presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).

The DHS had developed a comprehensive social assistance package for military veterans with the collaboration of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 2006.  The package included the adjustment of the housing subsidy qualification criteria for single veterans, the provision of preferential access to housing subsidies and rental accommodation to veterans and prioritising the planning and funding made available to assist veterans.  The adjusted qualification criteria were incorporated into the 2009 National Housing Code.  Details were provided of the implementation of the strategy, the role played by the SANDF and SANMVA and the registration process.  To date, 174 housing units had been provided to military veterans in six provinces.  The KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Limpopo provinces had not provided data on the number of housing units specifically provided to veterans.

Discussion
The Chairperson observed that the DHS appeared to be ahead in implementing the Bill.

Mr Maynier noted that SANMVA provided the names of deserving veterans to the DHS.  Recipients had to earn between zero and R3,500 per month in order to qualify for subsidised housing benefits.  He asked how SANMVA identified the deserving beneficiaries if the database did not include details of the income levels of veterans.  This raised serious questions about the process followed in ascertaining which veterans would be recommended.

Ms Daniels understood that the database was still under development and concurred with the concerns raised by Mr Maynier.  She requested further clarity on the benefits provided by the DHS and asked if the Department would be streamlining the application process for veterans.

The Chairperson understood that veterans earning more than R3,500 per month would not qualify for the subsidy.

Mr Mphahlele asked if any of the housing units were situated in the rural areas as most of the housing developments were in urban areas.  He suggested that a constriction training programme was included in the Department’s strategic plans.  He asked if there was transparency in the delivery of housing units and if Members of the Committee could be provided with details of the financial profiles of the beneficiaries of the units.  Only 174 units had been delivered to date but the Members were aware of many destitute veterans in desperate need of housing.

Mr Maziya referred to the income threshold criteria but felt that the financial obligations of veterans earning higher incomes had to be taken into account.  He asked if the DHS had a separate budget for the provision of housing to veterans.  In his opinion, SANMVA was the only organisation that should represent the veterans.

Mr Mlangeni asked if the Department provided housing in the rural areas.  He assumed that the 174 units already delivered were situated in urban areas.

The Chairperson pointed out that the Bill made provision for the application of a means test in order to determine whether or not a veteran was eligible to receive benefits.  The intention of the Bill was to provide assistance to destitute veterans.

Mr Maphisa replied that SANMVA was the stakeholder appointed by the Department of Defence (DOD).  The DHS interacted with a wide range of other stakeholders and Government entities as a matter of course.  The database of veterans was maintained by SANMVA and the Association provided the names of veteran beneficiaries to the DHS.  The DHS did additional screening of applicants, for example the checking of identity documents with the Department of Home Affairs and verifying the income of beneficiaries.  The DHS was subjected to scrutiny by the Auditor-General and had its own application processes in place.  Military veteran applicants were subjected to the same application processes that were followed by other applicants.  The maximum income criteria were only applicable at the time of application and the house was not taken back if the beneficiary’s financial position improved at a later stage.  The Department attempted to give priority to the neediest applicants.

Mr Maphisa explained that all the plots and dwellings available in the country were accounted for.  A set of norms and standards was applicable and the DHS was subject to the provisions of the Housing Act.  The DHS was still in the transition process from the former Department of Housing and recognised that the Housing Act had to be reviewed as the mandate of the new Department extended beyond the mere provision of houses.  For example, the infrastructure grant was administrated by the DHS.  Certain units had been provided in the rural areas of KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo but it must be acknowledged that urbanisation was a factor in determining where housing would be provided.  The Department would be able to obtain details of the veteran recipients of the 174 units from the provincial authorities and would be able to provide a written report to the Committee in due course.

Mr Maphisa confirmed that the DHS had included the provision of training in its strategic plans.  The Department had the necessary capacity to provide training courses to veterans but would need assistance with identifying who were veterans.  The process of providing veterans with housing was transparent and the programme was extensively advertised when it was launched.  The DHS worked closely with the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development in order to meet the needs of communities.  The Department did not have a separate budget for veteran housing but veteran applicants were given priority.  The DHS had a dedicated monitoring and evaluation section in place to track progress.

The Chairperson asked why three of the provinces could not provide data on the housing units provided to veterans.

Mr Maphisa replied that the zero responses did not mean that the provinces concerned did not have plans in place to provide houses to veterans.

Ms Daniels pointed out that SANMVA was not a statutory body in terms of the Military Veterans Affairs Act.  She repeated her earlier question about the streamlining of the DHS application processes.  She observed that all the Departments needed to cooperate in delivering the benefits provided for in the Bill and would be taking their cue from the DMV.

Mr Mlangeni observed that the DHS had provided the most comprehensive briefing on the Bill.  The number of units already provided to veterans was small but he was aware that the units had been provided before the Bill came into effect.

Mr Mphahlele asked if the KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Mpumalanga provinces had provided no houses to veterans.

Mr Maynier asked for an explanation of the process followed by the DHS to allocate housing units to beneficiaries.  It would appear that SANMVA decided who would be provided with a house and he wanted the assurance that the process was fair and equitable.  He understood that the current minimum cost of a housing unit was R84,000 but the veterans were not satisfied with the basic unit and had demanded houses costing R120,000.  He requested further details of the future plans of the DHS and what the estimated costs would be to provide housing benefits to veterans.

Mr Maziya asked if the training provided by the DHS would be made available to communities or only to the trainees nominated by SANMVA.  He noted that SANMVA had given no indication in its submission that veterans had demanded special types of benefits.

Mr Maake asked if the dependants of deceased veterans were eligible to receive housing benefits.

Mr Mpahisa replied that the dependants of deceased veterans would have to be identified in the application process.  The dependants would inherit the house allocated to a veteran who subsequently passed away.  In terms of the Housing Code and the MINMEC decision, the minimum standard was a 40 m2 unit and the maximum subsidy was R84,000.  It was possible to build a larger unit on cheaper land.  The minimum standard was applied to ensure that all beneficiaries received equal benefits.  The DSD was provided with a list of approved veteran beneficiaries by the DOD, not SANMVA.  Applicants had to follow the normal procedure but were given priority.  The Department compared the data on the DMV and DHS databases when processing applications.  The training provided was intended to involve people in the building of their own houses.  The programme was known as the People’s Housing Process and had been successfully implemented in the past.

Mr Themba Masimi, Deputy Director, DHS explained that SANMVA was the stakeholder appointed by the DOD.  The DHS worked closely with SANMVA but had no information on which unit the nominated veteran belonged to.  SANMVA was responsible for identifying and verifying that the applicant was bona fide military veteran.  The provincial housing authorities had their own priorities for the delivery of housing.  The DHS would ensure that veterans were given the necessary priority by the provincial authorities once the Bill was enacted.

Mr Mlangeni was not sure if SANMVA was responsible for identifying or for verifying the eligibility of veterans.

The Chairperson said that not all military veteran organisations were members of SANMVA.  Members of the Committee were concerned that members of certain veteran organisations received preferential treatment.

Mr Mlambo had attended the housing summits held in the Eastern Cape and in Gauteng.  The minimum 40 m2 unit was not agreed to at the summits and resolutions were taken that larger houses had to be provided.

Mr Maynier was not satisfied that the allocation process was fair, equitable and transparent.  It was important that the Committee obtained clarity on the process and ensure that any problems were addressed.  The DMV had allowed for a cost estimate based on a unit cost of R120,000 when the Committee was briefed on the financial implications of the Bill.

Ms Daniels again repeated her question about the streamlining of the application process.  She asked what the relationship was between the DHS and the Department of Public Works.

Mr Maake asked if the dependant of a deceased veteran was eligible for the housing benefit.

Mr Maphisa replied that the applicable norms and standards followed by the DHS were contained in the Housing Code.  The Code was available on the Department’s website.  The DHS would adhere to the minimum applicable standards and the questions on the larger unit cost should be referred to the DMV.  The DHS would have to be informed if an applicant was the dependant of a deceased veteran and the application would be considered in the same manner as a military veteran.  The DHS worked closely with the Department of Public Works as both entities were part of the build environment cluster, used common standards, recognised the rating awarded to contractors, the NHBRC registration of projects and the guaranteed standard of delivery.  He was aware that the veterans had rejected the minimum housing unit at the housing summits and insisted on larger units but MINMEC had decided that the minimum 40 m2 unit would apply.

The Chairperson thanked the DHS for the briefing.  He requested that the Department provided a document detailing the alignment of the benefits provided to the provision of the Bill to the Committee by 12 April 2011.

Mr Maake asked if the Committee or the DMV would be monitoring the progress made by the Departments responsible for providing the benefits in terms of the Bill.

Mr Maynier said that the briefings had been useful but it was clear that the DSD, DOH and DOT in particular were wholly unprepared to implement the Bill.  He was concerned over the lack of planning and costing that had been done over the preceding 18 months.  The DMV was the responsible Department for implementing the Bill but serious doubt had been cast on the ability of the other Departments to deliver the benefits to the veterans.  The DMV would be held accountable if service delivery did not take place.

The meeting was adjourned.

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