VETERANS affairs deputy minister Hilma Nicanor yesterday warned ex-combatants of a group that is out to con them out of fishing rights.
She made these remarks during a press conference in Windhoek which was attended by the president of the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) Ben Shikongo, veterans affairs acting permanent secretary Rebecca Iyambo and members of the association.
Nicanor criticised the actions of the Repatriation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR) group, Namibian returnees who have been inviting veterans to meetings in Windhoek, at Rundu and recently Ongwediva.
At these meetings, the war veterans were requested to provide copies of their identity documents, or register as beneficiaries of fishing rights.
Nicanor added that fisheries minister Bernhard Esau publicly invited the war veterans through their association to apply for fishing rights on their own when they visited President Hage Geingob last month.
"So, veterans are expected to apply on their own, or in a manner that is in tandem with the provision of the Marine Resources Act," she said, adding that those who think they could abuse the system to exploit the war veterans should be shamed.
Her department has not engaged with the RRR group regarding the alleged misrepresentations, but she knows the person behind the group, and plans having a one-on-one meeting over the issue.
"I wish to remind the RRR group that all programmes and activities related to the welfare of the veterans of Namibia's liberation struggle remain the responsibility of the veterans' affairs ministry, and we shall not tolerate that any person or any group interferes with the responsibilities that we are entrusted with," Nicanor stated.
She then advised all the war veterans not to be involved with the RRR group because the veterans affairs ministry does not know their agenda.
The department of veterans affairs which addresses the plight of war veterans noted that they are making strides to help them, such as through the provision of counselling services, despite the current economic hardships the country is facing.
Shikongo told Geingob during their meeting last month that some people want to use the war veterans to get fishing rights under the pretext of helping them.
He also claimed that those using the war veterans promise to give 5% of the profits to the association, but later keep everything to themselves.