Department of Military Veterans Strategic & Annual Performance Plan 2013: briefing; Air Force Bases and Armscor Research and Development facilities 2013 Oversight Visit Committee Report: consideration and adoption

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Defence and Military Veterans

14 May 2013
Chairperson: Mr M Motimele (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Military Veterans briefed Members on the Department's Strategic and Annual Performance Plan 2013. It briefly gave an overview of the 2013 budget Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks Estimates and the challenges facing a Department which was only three years old. The three programmes of the Department were highlighted being the Administration Programme, Socio-economic Programme and the Empowerment and Stakeholder Management Services Programme. A total amount of R 351 million was budgeted for the 2013/14 financial year. The Department would contribute to the youth development initiatives by focusing on the youth dependants of military veterans as well as South African youth at large, including partnering with relevant government departments to provide Youth Empowerment Programmes. The DMV would prioritise the partnership with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. In contributing to the Government agenda of job creation, the Department would ensure that the environment for sustainable employment and inclusive economic growth was realised for military veterans and their dependants, and it would support small businesses owned by military veterans. Initiatives to support these small businesses would include using the preferential procurement mechanism within the Department and other social partners. In line with the National Development Plan objective of job creation, the Department would ensure that there was improvement in the skills base of military veterans through the provision of better education and vocational training. During the 2013/14 financial year the Department would focus on upgrading its Centre for Advanced Training.

The Department believed that, through the planning and strategic budgeting provided, it would be able to make qualitative delivery and would be able to fast track it. This delivery would make a further case for improved efficiency and the ability to fast track the comprehensive delivery of the long awaited socio-economic rights.

The Members raised numerous concerns that included the inaccuracies in the figures stated in the Annual Performance Plan and the escalation of the budget for Travel and Subsistence to almost R9 million. Members were concerned about the integrity of the figures on the Department's database. A FF+ Member was concerned about R4 million being spent on bursaries and wanted to know to whom it was disbursed. A DA Member was concerned about the different figures of 56 000 and 57 000 veterans registered on the databases, and he asked if the means test was being applied to veterans before they were given benefits. A second DA Member was concerned that the neediest veterans were not getting priority and he alluded to the fact that certain quarters believed that the Department was there to ensure that uMkhonto weSizwe Veterans received benefits. Members also queried the moneys being spent on memorialisation and requested details of the costs of this. An ANC Member stated that the Members of the Committee needed to take collective responsibility for guiding the Department and he was worried that the Department was not able to carry out its mandate in terms of providing the necessary benefits for the military veterans. Other concerns raised by Members included the outstanding vacancies in the Department and whether any Military Veterans were excluded from benefits. A problem was also raised of military veterans residing in Southern African Development Community countries with dual citizenship.

Members adopted the Portfolio Committee report on the oversight visit to selected Air Force Bases and Armscor Research and Development Facilities (29 January – 01 February 2013).               
 

Meeting report

Department of Military Veterans Strategic & Annual Performance Plan 2013: briefing
The Chairperson welcomed the Members of the Committee and the delegation from the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) and requested that they introduce themselves.

Overview
Mr Tsepe Motumi, DMV Director-General, then gave a brief overview of the scope of the presentation and outlined the key areas covered.

He stated that the aim was to provide an outlook of the DMV Annual Performance Plan (APP) and the Vote 22 strategic budgeting information.

He outlined the Legislative Requirements, which included Treasury Regulations 5.1.2. These provided for the Accounting Officer of a Department to ensure that the Department had an APP covering the budget year and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

The National Treasury Framework for Strategic Planning and the MTEF required the following: –

Departments were required to produce and table an APP, including forward projections for a further two years consistent with the MTEF period, with annual and quarterly performance targets, where appropriate, for the current financial year and the MTEF.

Mandate
The DMV derived its legislative mandate from the Military Veterans Act (No. 18 of 2011). This Act requires it to provide national policy and standards on socio-economic support to military veterans and their dependants including benefits and entitlements to help them lead a dignified existence.

Strategic direction
Mr Motumi then summarised the DMV Strategic Direction (see document).

Executive Authority’s Priorities

He explained the seven priorities: -

Priority 1

- Ensuring a fully functional DMV with an independent budget vote and systems.

Priority 2

The provision of immediate social relief of distress to the most vulnerable Military Veterans especially those military veterans who were destitute.

Priority 3

To provide comprehensive support services to Military Veterans and their dependants subject to the availability of resources. These services included: –

- Education, training and skills development

- Heath Care and a Wellness Centre

- Access to health support

- Subsidisation or provisioning of public transport

- Housing

- Burial Support

Priority 4

To promote empowerment programmes for Military Veterans. This fiscal year would include the widening of economic participation to Military Veterans. The proposed initiatives would entail: –

- Utilisation of preferential procurement mechanism with the DMV and other social partners

- Operationalisation of the Special Purposes Vehicle company (SPV) to provide incubator programmes designated for Military Veterans

- Facilitation of employment placement

- Facilitation of or advice on business opportunities

Priority 5

Promotion of heritage of military veterans and memorialising and honouring military veterans

Priority 6

Maintenance of a credible and secure national Military Veterans database

Priority 7

Maintenance of a high impact communication and marketing strategy and plan

The main focus of the DMV APP for the fiscal year 2013 was the following five areas: –

- DMV contribution to the medium term strategic framework (MTSF) Outcomes

- DMV Contribution to the job creation agenda of government

- DMV contribution to the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) implementation plan

- DMV contribution to the youth development initiatives

- The achievement of DMV sustained mandate including executive action priorities

The DMV has set up eight Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) Priorities which were:-

- Speed up economic growth and transform the economy to create a decent work and sustainable livelihood

- Strengthen the skills and human resources resource base

- Improve the health profile of society

- Intensify the fight against crime and corruption

- Massive programmes to build economic and social infrastructure

- Build cohesive, caring and sustainable communities

- Sustainable resource management and use

- Pursue regional development, African advancement and enhanced international cooperation

- Build a developmental state, including improving of public services and strengthening democratic institutions

DMV Contribution to the Government Job Creation Agenda

In contributing to the Government agenda of job creation, the following will be done: -

- Ensure that the environment for sustainable employment and inclusive economic growth was realised for military veterans and their dependants

- The DMV would support small businesses owned by military veterans through better co-ordination of activities in small business agencies, development finance institutions as well as public and private incubators.

- Initiatives to support these small businesses would be utilisation of preferential procurement mechanism within the DMV and other social partners as well as the operationalisation of the special purpose vehicle company (SPV) to provide incubator programmes for the Military Veterans

- The DMV would also ensure that there was improvement in the skills base of military veterans through better education and vocational training. The Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) which the Department would upgrade would be utilised for this purpose

- Finalisation of the military veterans' company database

- Reduction in the level of unemployment among Non-Statutory Force (NSF) military veterans by 3% during the 2013/14 financial years

DMV Contribution to the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) Implementation Plan

The Department during the medium term had committed to focus on the achievement of targets as set by FOSAD. The following priorities as set out by FOSAD would be implemented by the Department as required:-

- Ensure that the performance agreement of the Accounting Officer was signed by the executive authority and submitted to the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC)

- Develop and approve the Service Delivery and Improvement plan for the Department and submit to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), as well as effective implementation and monitoring thereof

- Ensure that feedback on all cases from the National Anti – Corruption Hotline was provided and all cases concluded within the stipulated timeframe determined

- Maintain the current status of obtaining unqualified audit outcome with no matters

- Ensure that all Senior Managers’ Financial Disclosures were concluded and copies are filed with the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC).

- The cases from the Presidential Hotline were resolved

- The exception reports on 30 days payment to suppliers be submitted to National Treasury as per the Instruction Note issued in November 2011

DMV Contribution to the Youth Development Initiatives

The DMV would have initiatives focusing on the youth dependants of military veterans as well as South African youth at large. The initiatives would include the following: –

- Providing bursaries to the military veterans and their dependants and improving their education and skills level in order to equip them to participate in the democracy and economy

- Providing employment opportunities for military veterans and youth dependants of the military veterans by ensuring the following: -

- The utilisation of the preferential procurement mechanism within the DMV and other social partners

- Operationalisation of the SPV to provide incubator programmes designated for Military Veterans and their dependants

- Partnering with relevant government departments to provide Youth Empowerment Programmes. The DMV would prioritise the partnership with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

- Internship programme providing employment opportunities to qualifying graduates within the DMV. During the 2013 fiscal year, the DMV would recruit 19 unemployed graduates who would be provided with work place development opportunities while at the same time increasing capacity as well as bringing new ideas to the Department in order to improve service delivery imperatives

Alignment with the National Development Plan (NDP)
In line with the NDP plans objective of job creation, the Department would enable military veterans by ensuring that there was improvement in the skills base of military veterans through the provision of better education and vocational training. During the 2013/14 financial year the Department would focus on upgrading the Centre for Advanced Training to ensure that it would be utilised for this purpose.

DMV Policy Proposals in Support of the Priorities of the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans (MOD & MV): -

- DMV information and communication technology (ICT) Strategy

- DMV Anti criminality strategy

- Military Veterans health care policy

- White paper on military veterans (MiLVets)

- DMV Risk Management Strategy

- DMV Risk Management Policy

Policy Initiatives that impacted on spending patterns

Mr Motumi went on to explain that the 2013 fiscal year would primarily focus on prioritising the servicing of the section 5 benefits which were the following: -

- To realise a separate budget vote for the Military Veterans Mandate

- To realise an adequately resourced and fully functional Department that had the requisite systems, regulatory frameworks, policies and processes to fast track delivery of the Military Veterans Mandate

- To provide, subject to availability of resources, comprehensive support services to military veterans and their dependants

- Promotion of Military Veterans heritage as well as memorialisation and honouring

- Maintain the credibility and security of the national military veterans’ database

- Ensure empowerment programmes for and of Military Veterans

Vote 22 Strategic Budgeting Information

Mr Motumi then described the DMV three main Budget Programme Structures, their purpose and their Sub Programmes in page 20 of the document.

Administration Programme
The purpose was to provide management and strategic administrative support to the ministry, and overall management of the Department.

Socio–economic Services
The purpose was to develop and monitor the implementation of legislation, policy frameworks and service level agreements on primary and secondary health care services, home based care services, wellness and counselling services, and prevention and support services. 

Empowerment and Stakeholder Management Services
The purpose was to manage and facilitate the implementation of military veteran empowerment and stakeholder management programmes.

Selected Performance Indicators
The DMV Selected Performance Indicators were then explained with the current 2013/14 estimates as well as medium term projections up until 2016/17 as reflected on page 21 of the document.

Programme 2: Socio-economic Support Services Objectives

Provide socio-economic support services to military veterans by: -

- establishing and maintaining the credibility and security of the national military veterans database, through data consolidation, verification and an updating of the data base

- ensuring through access to the database that all deserving military veterans received benefits as espoused in Section 5 of the Military Veterans Act 2011 by 2015/16

- developing strategic partnerships with other organs of state to advance delivery on basic social security by concluding , monitoring and evaluating performance against service level agreements and where applicable memoranda of understanding to ensure that :-

- 11 500 eligible veterans had decent housing over the medium term

- 16 000 military veterans had access to health care services by 2015/16

- 400 eligible military veterans and dependants across the country were to be provided with ongoing education and transport support over the medium term

- provide ongoing support services to the dependants of military veterans by:-

- coordinating, concluding, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of service level agreements and memoranda of understanding with organs of state and relevant agencies

- reporting comprehensively on the national military veterans programme

- provide strategic leadership to the sector by conducting research on pertinent issues affecting military veterans and by developing policies and implementing norms, standards, strategies, guidelines, and efficiencies for leadership, and ensuring that all military veterans received relevant benefits and support over the medium term.

Programme 2 Sub – Programmes Overview

- Database and Benefit management was critical in ensuring that there is a credible and secure database through carrying out electronic cleanup activities and capturing 13 768 veterans’ personal files. In 2012/13 this sub programme had a staff complement of two.

- Research and Policy Development developed an equitable and sound environment for promoting the interests of military veterans through continuous research processes, and provided information on managing military veterans based on international standards.

- Health Care and Wellbeing Support facilitated the provision of health care and wellbeing support to military veterans. There were currently 270 military veterans accessing counselling through the military veterans’ healthcare practitioner association and the military support service. Approximately 3 000 military veterans had access to health care. In 2012/13, this sub programme had a permanent staff complement of one and was assisted by the Department of Defence (DOD).

– Socio-economic Support Services facilitated and coordinated socio-economic support services to military veterans. This entailed ensuring that legal instruments for the provision of socio-economic support services to veterans such as housing, pensions and transport were put into place. The main activities related to the development and consolations on the General Regulations on Military Veterans. The 2102 fiscal year saw the development of draft policies on Military Veterans education as well as Military Veterans Health Care. This programme had a staff complement of two in 2012/13.

Programme 3: Empowerment and Stakeholder Relations

- Ensure the empowerment of deserving military veterans by:

- establishing a fully operational SPV that would facilitate business opportunities for development through partnership and collaborations with other organs of state and the private sector by 2013/14

- forming partnerships with 30 provide sector companies and organs of state over the medium term

- entering into service level agreements and memoranda of understanding with organs of state, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the agreements and memoranda of understanding to ensure that support was provided on an annual basis

- concluding 12 formal agreements with institutions of higher learning for the provision of skills development over the medium term

- promoting relations at inter and intra government level

- facilitating the interfacing of military veterans with the international community through the establishment of relevant exchange programmes

- ensuring that a total of ten strategic initiatives were established at national, continental and international levels

- ensuring through the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) that 7 500 deserving military veterans had access to relevant training and skills development and 1 000 had relevant National Qualification Framework (NQF) registered qualifications and part qualifications over the MTEF

Programme 3: Sub-programmes Overview

- Provincial Offices Management and Stakeholders Relations

It facilitated and coordinated military veteran stakeholder institutions and provided administrative support to secure stakeholders from both public and private institutions willing to contribute towards the wellbeing of military veterans. In 2012/13 the focus was placed on building the capacity at provincial offices by ensuring full staff establishment and strengthening relations with major stakeholders by entering into a service level agreement.

- Military Veterans Skills Development and Empowerment Programmes

This provided reskilling and related activities to ensure that military veterans contributed positively to mainstream economic activities. In 2013/14 the National Skills Fund would realise training of 1 000 military veterans over a two year period. Efforts were under way to refocus the Centre for Advanced Training as a skills development and empowerment centre for military veterans. This programme had a permanent staff complement of two.

- Heritage, Memorials, Burials and Honours

This programme provided services to honour the contributions made by military veterans and ensured that their memories are adequately secured, articulated in a dignified manner and captured in historical texts. In 2012/13 preparatory work was done on a monument for military veterans and memorial sites for Military veterans as well as headstones that would restore the dignity of military veterans’ graves.

Total Departmental 2013/14 Budget Allocations
Mr Motumi briefly gave a breakdown of the overall allocations on the programme levels for 2012/13 until the year 2015/16. The important factor was that the budget allocation for the three programmes for DMV in 2013/14 was R351 million increasing to R 607 million in 2015/16.

In terms of the Budget Allocation Mr Motumi explained that the spending focus over the medium term period would be on filling critical posts and supporting the delivery of benefits to military veterans. The spending across all three programmes was expected to increase significantly as the Department built up sufficient capacity to deliver on its mandate following the Military Veterans Act (No. 18 of 2011). The projected increase in expenditure over the medium term was to provide for the development and infrastructure for the implementation of the required services needed for the veterans’ programmes. The projected expenditure increase over the medium term was also meant to provide internal audit consultancy services and funding for the provision of the infrastructure projects.

Administration Programme: 2013/14 Budget Allocation
The Administration Programme Budget Allocation for 2013/14 was shown on page 29 of the document. The projected expenditure increase in this programme was due to the filling of critical posts in the organisational structure and the provision for accommodation requirements. The projected increase in the medium term was also focused on the development and implementation of information technology (IT) systems, administrative policies and procedures and the provision of legal services, security services, communication and marketing of the military veteran’s programmes. The projected expenditure increase also was focused on the funding of the external and internal audit professional services. Furthermore increases in expenditure were due to the acquisition and upgrading of national and provincial office space and the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the upgrade of infrastructure for the Centre for Advanced Training, and the development of head stones for graves of military veterans.

A decrease in expenditure under Programme Administration and machinery and equipment was informed by the fact that by 2015/16 most of the projects would be completed by 2015/16 and purchases of furniture and other infrastructure equipment for the national and provincial offices would be acquired by 2014/15.

Socio-economic Support Services Programme 2013/14 Budget Allocation
The socio-economic budget allocation for 2013/14 was presented on page 32 of the document with a total amount of R136 million projected for 2013/14 increasing to R284 million in 2015/16. The projected expenditure increase over the medium term was focused on the funding of the provision of 11 500 houses to the deserving military veterans. The projected expenditure increase over the medium term was also focused on funding the health assessment and provision of proper health care services to military veterans. The expenditure increase was also focused on funding the socio-economic research, policy development functions and educational funding of the deserving military veterans.

Empowerment and Stakeholder Management Programme 2013/14 Budget Allocations
The total amount of R76 million was allocated for the 2013/14 financial year and this increased to R170 million in 2015/16. The expenditure increase over the medium term was also focused on filling critical posts, and establishing of military veterans’ appeals and advisory boards. The expenditure increase was focused on seven memorial sites for military veterans and the improvement of nine provincial offices, investing in heritage preservation, and facilitating the establishment of heroes’ acres and monuments in each province. Further money was provided for the skills and empowerment programmes to 7 500 military veterans and the funding of the Centre for Advanced Training to reskill and develop military veterans.

A breakdown of the inclusive budget allocated to benefits was provided on page 36 of the document.

In terms of the DMV Personnel Information, a breakdown was presented of how many personnel posts were filled and planned for from 2013/14 to 2015/16. (see page 37 of document)

DMV Strategic Risks

- Inadequate financial resources, human resources and infrastructures.

- Lack of Monitoring and Evaluation capability to monitor the effectiveness of Military Veterans Programmes

- Compromising completeness and integrity of information on the Database

- Lack of data regarding military veterans’ available skills

- Dependency of skills audit and database

Mr Motumi believed that, through the planning and strategic budgeting provided, the DMV would be able to make qualitative delivery on the military veterans mandate and would be able to fast track this delivery. This delivery would make a further case for improved efficiency and the ability to fast track the comprehensive delivery of the long awaited socio-economic rights.

Discussion
The Chairperson thanked the Director-General for the presentation and asked the Members if they had any questions.

Mr S Esau (DA) raised the inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the two documents, the Annual Performance Plan 2013 and the DMV Strategic Planning and Budgeting Instruments for the 2013 Fiscal Year. He noted that the Travel and Subsistence amounts were inaccurate with discrepancies in calculations. (See page 37 of the APP) How could the Travel and Subsistence budget escalate to nearly R9 million in 2013/14? He wanted to know if the vacancies in 2012 in the DMV were 17 or 18.  

He referred to at least nine instances in which there were inaccuracies in the reporting in the DMV’s APP, in which figures did not balance correctly, and asked why these mistakes were not properly proofed prior to publishing the document. He wanted to know the reason for the slow filling of posts in the Department and why was there a discrepancy in the database with two different figures being quoted of 56 000 and 57 000 and why two registration campaigns were conducted. He questioned the figure of 13 768 veterans’ files captured and wanted to know if it was from the existing database or if it spoke to 2016/17 estimates. He noted that there was no urgency in the Department’s getting this database completed. He noted that regulations stipulated that within thirty days payment had to be made and alleged that the Department was trying to fool people into believing that it was ready.

Mr M Booi (ANC) interjected that could not say that the DMV was fooling with the regulations.

Mr Esau responded that he was referring to the fact that DMV was telling people that the Department was
ready to pay out within 30 days.

The Chairperson requested that Mr Esau be brief and to the point in his questions.

Mr Esau responded that he was dealing with the budget details.

Mr Booi responded that he was dealing with regulations and not what was in the budget.

Mr Esau asked how the DMV had established the requirements and if it had conducted a means test with the veterans because it appeared that bursaries, housing and healthcare benefits had already being allocated to military veterans.

Mr Booi asked who these veterans were.

Mr Esau replied that the article about this appeared in the news.

Ms P Daniels (ANC) asked if this was relevant to the discussion on the APP.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) stated that all the questions asked were proper because if the Department was serious about who qualified for benefits than it had to look at the regulations. He noted that he had picked up that an exclusive group was receiving these benefits and he wanted to know to know to whom the R4 billion in bursaries had been disbursed and how many veterans really did qualify for benefits.

The Chairperson replied that since 1999 there were military veterans who were receiving benefits.

Mr Groenwald asked if only those veterans were receiving existing benefits from the Department.

Mr Motumi responded the DMV was only three years old and a Military Veterans Act of 1999 had been in place before the new Act. He noted that previously the old act had benefited the veterans from World War II and had excluded many other military veterans from the later conflict. Previously the Directorate of Military Veterans was absorbed within the Department of Defence.

Regarding the statistical discrepancies that Mr Esau had queried, he informed the Members that the figures would all be corrected.

The escalation of the Subsistence and Travel budget related to the expenses of the Department personnel who went on registration campaigns and incurred travel costs.

The Department was addressing the vacancy situation. There were four categories of vacancies - permanent, contract worker, reservist, and internship that constituted the totality of staffing. There would be a decrease on all of them as the posts were filled. In the end the staff complement would be 135 permanently appointed staff.

Concerning the completing of the Database clean up the correct figure was 13 768 people registered and registering of people was a continuous process.

Mr D Maynier (DA) noted that 56 064 were on the database and the liability was R65 million. What was the total number of people and the liability?

He noted that there was a suspicion in certain quarters that the real purpose of the Department was to deliver benefits to uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Military Veterans, but he did not believe that this was the true state of affairs.

The Chairperson responded by saying that he did not know what this suspicion was but that Mr Maynier had been involved when the Act had being formulated.

Mr Maynier asked if the Department had a policy to disburse these benefits and if, in the allocation, the neediest cases were getting preference. He also asked if any military veterans were excluded and if the policy was a fair and equitable distribution. He noted that many military veterans were in desperate need of health care and housing, but money was being spent on memorialisation. He asked what the costs of the three memorials put up ahead of the ANC 2012 conference were.

Mr A Maziya (ANC) was concerned why outcomes 1 to 5 were subject to availability as they were all priorities. He noted that the DMV would assist children of beneficiaries but asked about those outside the Act.

He noted that the regulations would manage the process but they were not tabled like a Bill and they were for the Committee's consideration. He wanted to know for how long the veterans would be able to draw benefits and when these programmes were being applied. Would there be continuity with the current SANDF members and were there any more guerrillas?

Mr Booi noted that as Members of Parliament they all needed to take responsibility that these challenges were met efficiently as this was a new Department and it was clear that expenditure was not being guided by regulations. He asked the Members what they wanted to do to solve this problem. One must have an efficient Department and deal with it or allow the Auditor-General ‘to come back’. In terms of the data debate it was necessary to come to a completion as it concerned not only guerrillas but also former South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers.

Ms Daniels asked if Members agreed that these benefits must be put chronologically. She noted that the Department had spent a lot on memorialisation and no amount was given but this was done for those who had died for their country. Perceptions had being raised that the benefits were only for MK Veterans. How was the DMV going to deal with dual citizens residing in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries? Could one move away from the imbalances as one all agreed upon a means test? The Department must spend money within the policy framework because the National Treasury would come back to check on this.

Mr J Maake (ANC) asserted that the Committee was moving in circles. The services must be in place so that money could be spent and made to work. It was true that after 20 years some military veterans were still not receiving any money. The Department must have the capacity to spend the money on the correct things. Memorialisation was discussed but there must not be grandstanding. He was interested in data verification because it was very important and one could not spend money without verifying data. What did verification mean?

Mr Groenwald did not believe that there was need for a secretariat because one had approved it already. He knew that military veterans received benefits. The Act said that if one wanted benefits then one must pass the means test. Were there new military veterans and by what criteria were they receiving the benefits, since one only complied if one met the means test. He asked the criteria for qualifying.

The Chairperson noted that the costs of memorialisation would appear in the last quarter 2012/13.

Mr Maynier noted that the Director-General knew how much was spent on memorialisation costs.

Mr Diale responded that memorials were done by the Department of Arts and Culture at national level

Mr Motumi responded that the Department would report in the third quarter.

Mr Maynier said that the Department should expect a question on the memorial costs in Thursday’s debate.

The Chairperson stated that Ms Mabel Rantlha, DMV Deputy Director-General: Socio-Economic Support Services, would answer questions relating to databases and availability of resources.

Ms Rantlha replied that Mr Groenewald was correct that many came for registration but the reasons for doing a data update were not understood. 56 500 were analysed but the information was insufficient. The Department then updated the data on dependants. Many military veterans were not on the database. Some were from the SANDF and others were from demobilised forces. 20 000 with force numbers were being looked at and their force numbers were being verified. The Department was pulling out those who were bona fide [genuine cases]. 4 000 were never demobilised and the process must be put in place to verify them at the organisations.

In terms of prioritisation for delivery of benefits how did the Department prioritise? All military veterans could not receive benefits and the Department now satisfied their needs on the basis of allocations. The Department did progressive benefits. It prioritised the elderly military veterans. Within the NSF we prioritise elderly military veterans. It had not started to provide benefits or public services since there was need for a law that anchored its mandate in the laws, guidelines and regulations. There were many very destitute military veterans.

The Department had given benefits to people not employed and if it had made mistakes it was because it tried to accelerate the process for those military veterans desperate for benefits.

The Chairperson stated that he would soon be closing the meeting.

Mr Motumi noted that even with limited resources the Department did not just spend without first getting ministerial approval, an example being prioritised health care.

Mr Groenewald thanked the Director-General for the honest answer.

Air Force Bases and Armscor Research and Development facilities 2013 Oversight Visit Committee Report: consideration and adoption
The Chairperson requested that the Committee move onto the next issue on the agenda being the adoption of the Report on the oversight visits 29 January – 01 February 2013).

Mr Maake noted that they had no guidelines on this.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee had circulated the report to the Members in February and if they had any questions they were to present them in writing to the Committee.

Mr Esau noted that when they returned from the trip, the issue of Armscor not being protected by the Defence Force had come up.

Mr M Mncwango (IFP) noted that in some of the engagements with personnel the opposition did not want to participate and did not want to listen to soldiers' grievances.

Mr Maake asked how it could be seen as a waste of time to be seen talking to the soldiers.

Mr Esau stated that some Members took strong exception and were not briefed on the programme and he objected to other Members' comments that some Members had asked the senior officers to leave whilst listening to grievances.

The Chairperson stated Members could adopt the report with the amendments.

Ms Daniels noted that the Committee had promised to go back to the bases and deal with the grievances.

The Chairperson asked Mr Maake if he objected or agreed.

Mr Maake noted that he was in agreement and that certain things must be dealt with immediately.                                       

The Chairperson noted that Mr Maake had made his point and that the motion to adopt was seconded by Mr Esau.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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