Address by (MP) Cde Alexandra Beukes on the Budget Vote Debate for the Department of Defence

17 July 2019

Hon Chairperson,

Hon Minister,

The Department of Military Veterans derives its mandate from the Military Veterans Act, which requires it to provide national policy and standards for socio-economic support to the military veterans and their dependents including benefits and entitlements to realise a dignified, unified empowered and self-sufficient military veterans’ community.

With the support from the Department, more than 17 000 military veterans have been authorized for access to healthcare services across the country. The Department can improve access through strengthening of inter-governmental relations.

Agbare Voorsitter,

Ons het die samewerking van provinsiale regering sowel as munisipaliteite nodig om dit ‘n werklikheid te maak. We must focus on alignment and coordination across all spheres of government and entities. Engagements with provincial governments through the Offices of The Premier can assist in fast tracking veterans’ desks in municipalities. Establishment of veterans’ desk in municipalities will ensure that relevant important information pertaining veterans can be access easily and share with the veterans and their families. This will also assist in the speedily completion of the database as well as the monitoring of the spending of the budget. The Department will contribute to a number of outcomes in both the NDP and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework through improving its services.

Hon. Chairperson,

My focus will be on the socio-economic support. A certain amount is allocated for heritage, memorials, burials and honouring military veterans. I am proud to be part of the African National Congress, a Movement striving to change in ensuring a dignified lifestyle, a safe and humane/healthy environment for military veterans. Recognizing the role Military Veterans played in the democratization of South Africa ties into the National Development Plan’s aspirations to realise a developmental, capable and ethical state that treats its citizens with dignity.

Hon. Chairperson,

Acknowledging Military Veterans for their contributions deepen social cohesion and national unity while redressing the inequities of the past. Hon. Chairperson, I want to urge the Department to look into the MoU with the Department of Human Settlements, to speed up the process of building houses and to monitor the implementation thereof. The Department plans to provide 7466 education and training bursaries to Military Veterans and their dependents in each year over the medium term. Dit is weereens ‘n versekering dat ons as die African National Congress baie ernstig is oor die bemagtiging van ons jeug. Ek wil egter die Department aanmoedig om deur middel van bewusmakingsprogramme veral in ons afgeleë plattelandse gebiede ons gemeenskappe in te lig oor die voordele van hierdie spesifieke program.

Hon. Chairperson,

The Castle Control Board, which is a Schedule 3A public entity is responsible for the overall management, maintenance and promotion of the Castle of Good Hope as a heritage site and tourist attraction. In terms of the legislative mandate, the organization is expected to provide a range of public services on behalf of the Department of Military Veterans to local community members, tourists, learners, cultural organizations, traditional authorities, etc.

The Boards mission is to be a service-orientated public entity, striving to create an environment where national pride serves to build an internationally known and recognized cultural and heritage brand for Ubuntu, dialogue, nation building and human rights recognition.

The vision, Hon. Chairperson, is to be a globally significant, truly accessible Centre that displays South Africa’s shared heritage. The objections in the Act tie in with the NDP in the same way like the promotion of tourism, because the NDP is clear on the strategic role of tourism as a driver for economic growth and job creation. My question or concern however is, Hon Chairperson, Doen ons genoeg? Hoekom is die Kasteeel van Goeie Hoop nog onbekend aan sommige gemeenskappe veral in ons afgeleë gebiede? Agbare Voorsitter, hoekom kan ons nie enige kind op straat in die omliggende gebiede vra oor die geskiedenis van die kasteel nie? Miskien is ek verkeerd of oningelig. Implementering van programme in ons agtergeblewe skole is nodig om ons jonger generasie hul waarde te laat besef om sodoende minderwaardigheid hok te slaan. Het ons onsself al afgevra waaroor gaan bende geweld? Is dit nie miskien ‘n soeke na identiteit nie?

Through promoting and advocating, through cherishing we will revive and restore our dignity. We can reroute the negative energy for positive outcomes and dissolve the aggression. All of us here have our own heritage. Let us take ownership but respect each other. One Great Nama Gaob (King), Simon Kooper said and I quote: “Big things can happen when small number of people stand together. We will survive and never surrender.”

Hon. Chairperson,

We will fail ourselves, our community and our Organisation if we do not take these and bring our side to ensure that the next generation do not experience what we did. Someone once said: “I want to be an African setting the rules for my development and not be lectured by those who consider us inferior.” Walking through history the birth of change has always been born from the desire thereof. My desire Hon. Chairperson is to try and understand the messages of those speeches in the castle. What do those eyes represent, what does that face portray, what is that gaze – is it the gaze of hope, of sorrow? A childhood innocence that we should do our best to protect a future. What has enticed, what intrigues her soul. It’s the longing face of someone who desperately wants to touch, to understand, to feel comfort. What does the picture mean? We dare not fail them.

Hon. Chairperson,

Vigorous campaigning is needed now; the value and pride of keeping our ancestors name high through respect and responsibility must not lost its relevance.

In conclusion, Hon. Chairperson, I want to quote Thomas Sankara: “We can hear the roll of women silence; I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of the revolt.”

Hon. Chairperson,

May our eyes never see and our feet never take us to a society where half the people are held in silence. Let us live the African way…it is the only way.

I Thank you!

Ek dank u!

Gangan du ta ra!

The ANC supports the budget.