THE NAMIBIAN government should return part of the N$36 million provided by apartheid authorities in 1992 as payment to former soldiers, demanded Frans Jabulani of the Namibia War Veterans Trust yesterday.
In 1992, the former South African government paid over N$36 million to Namibia for former SWATF and ex-Koevoet soldiers, but according to reports, in the spirit of reconciliation, the Namibian government decided to divide the money up into three N$12 million parts.
The Namibian reported at the time that N$12 million was paid to ex-SWATF and Koevoet members, another N$12 million was given to former People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) fighters, while the last N$12 million went into the now defunct Development Brigade Corproation (DBC).
Jabulani yesterday demanded the full reimbursement of money paid to former Plan fighters and the DBC, while handing a petition to NamRights director Phil ya Nangoloh in Windhoek West.
He said the money was shared in a spirit of reconciliation, but since 1998 government has sidelined them through the Veterans Act and has continually spoken ill of them.
He referred to recent statements of President Hage Geingob, who during Heroes' Day celebrations reiterated that veteran status would never be accorded to former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers and that they should approach their former employer for benefits.
"This recent attack has caused huge rejection from the general public and triggered hatred and a hostile situation against ex-soldiers of SWATF and Koevoet. We were made to believe we are children of one Namibian house, where everyone should feel safe and protected, and nobody should feel left out," said Jabulani.
The NamVet petition calls on Namrights and the international community to take note of their plea to be recognised and accorded war veteran status.
Ya Nangoloh said since the N$36 million was shared out amongst fighters on both sides of the liberation struggle, government should also take care of former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers.