Albertina Nakale Attorney-General Sackeus Shanghala said ex-Koevoet and ex-South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) members will not be recognised as war veterans – but are entitled to receive other social benefits as accorded to all citizens. Shanghala said the ex-soldiers are entitled to government benefits such as old age pension grants, disability grants, drought relief food and resettlement farm programmes, among other assistance. Shanghala made the comments at State House of Friday during the signing of performance agreements by ministers and other high-ranking government officials, including himself. He was asked by President Hage Geingob to explain the government’s reasoning behind ex-Koevoet soldiers and former SWATF members not being recognised as veterans of the liberation struggle. President Geingob once again repeated the government’s stance that former SWATF and ex-Koevoet members do not deserve war veteran status. Geingob said the government would not compensate former soldiers of the colonial apartheid regime who served in SWATF and Koevoet, a feared paramilitary police organisation at the time. He said the Swapo government would never compensate them and they should demand payment from their former employers who recruited them to do the dirty work of oppressing the Namibian people. Geingob made the remarks last week when he addressed the 51st Heroes Day commemoration at Oshakati, where he said ex-Koevoet and former SWATF members were paid by the apartheid government. Shanghala shared the same sediments, saying Koevoet and SWATF members were employed by the South African apartheid regime from which they received salaries and other benefits. Shanghala said after Namibia gained its independence from South African foreign domination, some of these ex-Koevoet and ex-SWATF members confused the benefits they are entitled to and started demanding war veteran status. He explained that the Namibian Constitution clearly denounces the activities of the previous apartheid government, and therefore they cannot be recognized as war veterans. “Those people are misguided in claiming from the Namibian republic their due benefits because their contract of employment ended with the implementation of Resolution 435. So, to make things worse, the legislation passed does not even define them as those who are entitled to war veteran status,” he said. Oshakati-Namibian War Veterans Trust (NamVet) chairperson Jabulani Ndeunyema recently reiterated the wish of former members of Koevoet to have another meeting with President Geingob. Ndeunyema said NamVet members are still waiting on Geingob to ensure that their inclusivity in the Namibian House is not just by word of mouth. “When we met with the president last year he told us we are part of the Namibian House, so we are waiting on the president to deliver what we will eat from the Namibian House,” Ndeunyema said. He further said they have been approached by foreign institutions that are ready to come to their aid, but added that NamVet members want to be uplifted from poverty by the Namibian government. “If we are assisted by foreign institutions we will end up fighting and we do not want to end up fighting,” he said. Meanwhile, ex-Koevoet members living in the north have been labelled “cowards” by some for failing to support financially and morally those camping at the Commando Hall in Windhoek.
New Era Reporter
2017-09-04 09:17:09 2 years ago