THE Ministry of Veterans' Affairs has announced plans to build 30 houses for veterans throughout the country this year, to add to the 46 houses it built last year.
This was announced by Minister Nickey Iyambo in his new year's message to ministry staff this week. The total number of houses that the ministry has donated to war veterans currently stands at 87. The ministry said last year that houses are only given to severely disabled and very elderly veterans, but the programme will continue for as long as such veterans are in need of housing and there are funds available.
Iyambo said the ministry recently registered 1 872 veterans, bringing the total number of registered veterans in the country to 24 457.
"That figure is out of the total of 46 062 applications, meaning that 21 600 applicants could not make the cut. This year, we will continue with the registration of veterans," he said.
This year, the ministry aims to get an appeal board operational, to inform unsuccessful applicants of the outcome of their application for registration as veterans, and to develop regulations relating to the conferment of national honours.
Iyambo said the ministry also plans to amend regulations relating to the registration and benefits of veterans and dependants of veterans in line with the Veterans Amendment Act of 2012.
"We plan to introduce a system for quarterly verification of the existence of veterans to warrant the continuous payment of the monthly subvention. We also plan to have a regular updated and an informative website, improvement of existing Veterans Administration System and a more synchronised, sophisticated and new database system for veterans' projects, educational grants, medical treatment and funeral assistance which can serve as a one-stop information system," he said.
Regional offices will have access to these databases and the ministry is to acquire a computerised asset register.
Iyambo said he was looking forward to a successful year.
"We must focus on efficient service delivery and act on directives and instructions as a matter of urgency and avoid delaying tactics at all cost."
In 2012, the ministry provided financial support in the form of educational and training grants to 123 veterans and dependants of veterans. In addition, 18 veterans received psychological counselling and 129 veterans received funeral assistance.
The ministry approved 242 veterans' projects last year and conducted medical and social health assessments on more than 1 000 veterans, of whom 600 underwent medical examinations.
"This year the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs will continue to carry out its mandatory obligation to initiate, promote and implement projects and programmes which address the socio-economic needs of the veterans, including keeping the history of the national liberation struggle alive," Iyambo said.