Ms Thandi Modise
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
PO Box 47
Mr Vusumuzi Cyril Xaba
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans
PO BOX 15
Mr Musa Mabesa
Principal Executive Officer
Government Employee Pension Fund
Private Bag X63
Mr Abel Sithole
Chief Executive Officer
Public Investment Corporation
Private Bag X187
Dear Honourable Minister Modise, Honourable Chairperson Xaba, Mr Sithole and Mr Mabesa
Proposed regulations seeking to regulate pension benefit of the military veterans, and pensions of military veterans and other civil servants
1. On 13 January 2023 I had the privilege to address a gathering of the Transkei Defence Force Military Veterans Association, in Mthatha, at which the proposed regulations seeking to regulate pension benefit of the military veterans, as well as the pensions of military veterans and other civil servants, in general, were the topics of discussion. I attach my speech for your information (Click on the link).
2. It is patently clear from my interaction with these veterans that there is still much unhappiness with the status quo of both of these aforementioned matters. I have attached their views and submissions on the regulations that was sent to the Director of Legal Services in the Minister’s Office on 30 December 2022 for your ease of reference (Click on the link). What comes out clearly is that they believe that the proposed regulations are in contravention of the Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011 (‘the Act’) and are in contravention of their basic constitutional rights.
3. There are major problems with the services provided for military veterans and their dependents. In particular, the feeling is that the Department of Military Veterans needs to up its game where housing, education and health services for veterans are concerned.
4. The veterans believe that the African National Congress’ (ANC) veterans have internal problems of their own to solve e.g., underage veterans and that some are claiming millions of rands in compensation. They believe the ANC must sort out its internal mess and not cloud issues; the only way of doing so is to strictly adhere to the Act and not creating ways of discrimination by way of these proposed regulations.
5. I was informed that complaints that have been lodged with the Government Employee’s Pension Ombud (GEPO), over a variety of pension complaints, have not been attended to for whatever reasons and frustrations are running high. The feeling unfortunately is that the GEPO is an ineffectual organisation.
6. Regarding the pensions of those who took packages, there appears to be consensus that there are calculation errors with the period of employment only starting in 1994, whilst their term of service started in the 1970s.
7. It might be advisable to get the former asset managers of the SATBVC states, such as Old Mutual and Alexander Forbes, to give information on what they have on record of pensions that they had managed in the past and what moneys they still have which they managed for teachers, clerks, correctional services officers, police personnel, nurses and military personnel.
One thing no one can deny is that the establishment the GEPF, and its asset manager the PIC, took over trillions of rands to manage in pension monies. It was reported at the Mpati Commission that monies were written off (through listed and unlisted investments) by the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for no tangible reason. Pensioners still need answers to this question. List
8. It would also be a useful exercise to have the GEPF, the PIC, National Treasury and all the pensioners’ associations to meet under one roof to pool information and to iron out the issue of these pensions once and for all, as well as the recommendations of the Mpati Commission.
9. If the government would take these suggestions under advisement and act on them, it would go a long way in solving a lot of enduring problems for our pensioners.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement
Copied to: The Presidency:
President of the Republic of South Africa
Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa