Parliament, Thursday, 24 November 2022 – The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans has commended the efforts made by men and women in uniform who are stationed at the Department of Defence’s Mobilisation Centre in Bloemfontein.

The committee is visiting military bases that are in Bloemfontein to engage with army personnel on successes of the bases and challenges they are faced with among other things as part of its oversight work.

During the course of its oversight at the bases, the committee has noted that the main challenge that faces the defence force is insufficient funding to carry out its core mandate. The committee appreciated the high work ethic members of the defence force have and on that work ethic they have turned the army’s prime mission equipment that was declared unusable, usable with little available funding.

The committee also commended the exuberance and energy which drives the young skilled army personnel and urged the Officer Commanding to ensure that the base doesn’t lose such skill and spirit of enthusiasm in the defence force.

The army at the base expressed a concern that sooner or later its stock of vehicles that are being stripped for reusable parts will soon run out. It recommended that the Defence Force must increase its internal capabilities and be self-reliant. It expressed its concern about the 78 vacant civilian posts at the base, but it heard that the problem is the lack of funding for those posts.

The committee also visited the Hillside View Housing Project for Military Veterans where it was told by the Free State Provincial Department of Human settlements said the challenge was the inaccurate database and validation of military veterans by the Department of Military Veterans. The committee commended the department for ensuring that for every housing project it implements it will accommodate housing units for military veterans.

The committee applauded Free State Provincial Government for increasing the subsidy allocation by funds from the provincial equitable share to ensure the delivery of houses to military veterans in the province. The committee also expressed its unhappiness on houses that are poorly built including a house built on a sewer pipe line.

The committee called for the military veterans to be treated with dignity and it said it will not deviate from its mandate of holding those who are responsible for the welfare of the military veterans accountable.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS, MR CYRIL XABA

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