President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured liberation struggle war veterans and military veterans that the issues they have raised with government in relation to social and economic support will be addressed.

President Ramaphosa made the commitment at a meeting of the High Level Task Team on matters related to the benefits of Military Veterans, held on Tuesday. The task team was led by Deputy President David Mabuza, and formations and associations of Military Veterans.

The President said government recognised the contribution of Military Veterans to the attainment of a free and democratic South Africa.

He expressed satisfaction with the progress that has been made by the High Level Task Team in coming up with solutions to the grievances the Liberation Struggle War Veterans and Military Veterans have raised with government.

The task team appointed by the President in November 2020 comprises the Deputy President, the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jackson Mthembu, and the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla.

The task team has since 11 November 2020, held a number of high-level discussions to resolve matters of serious concern relating to the well-being of military veterans.

The matters were raised by military veterans in a memorandum submitted to the Presidency on 10 November 2020.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Presidency said that Tuesday’s meeting reflected on the progress that has been made through the discussions to date.

“While consensus has been reached on a number of critical points, discussions and engagements will continue to resolve outstanding issues. President Ramaphosa commended the constructive, principled manner in which the military veterans raised their concerns and he assured the veterans these issues will be resolved,” the Presidency said.

Acknowledging the contribution of military veterans to South Africa, President Ramaphosa said: “A country that does not look after its military veterans, who sacrificed to help all South Africans to attain freedom, is a country with no appreciation of its foundation and past, and therefore a country with no future”.

The President also highlighted that more work needs to be done, engagement needs to continue on some of the issues, and that implementation needs to be monitored in areas that are ready to be actioned.

The Deputy President and the task team will continue to engage various government stakeholders including Ministers and Premiers to implement what has been agreed to thus far and to strengthen government’s support to military veterans.

A follow-up meeting will be held early in the New Year.

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