Dependents of war veterans demand amendment to Veterans Act

Niël Terblanché

Members of the Association of the Dependents of Namibia’s War Veterans took to the streets, marching towards the headquarters of the ruling Swapo Party demanding an amendment to the Veterans Act,

In their petition, the association stated that the Veterans Act overlooks the rightful benefits of dependents born during the war for the liberation of Namibia.

According to the current legislation, only children of war veterans under the age of 18 are eligible for benefits.

In their petition, the association contends that this age restriction unjustly excludes many rightful dependents whose births coincide with the years of conflict between 1975 and 1989.

They argued that the definition of a veteran’s child should be expanded to include all those born within this timeframe, stressing heritage over age as the criterion for eligibility.

The association’s move comes at a time of heightened political activity in preparation for the Presidential and National Assembly elections at the end of November this year.

Despite giving a week’s notice of their intention to present the same petition to members of the National Assembly, the demonstrators were met with an absence of Swapo Party office bearers at the headquarters. Their petition was instead handed over to a receptionist.

Hilma Nicanor, the Secretary of Information and Mobilization for the Swapo Party expressed her unfamiliarity with the association and their demands.

She, however, gave the assurance that the petition would receive the attention it deserves which created an opportunity for potential future dialogue and action.

The association has set a deadline of 26 August for the amendment of the Act, indicating a clear timeline for their expectations to be met.

By presenting the petition to a representative of the National Assembly in the coming week they intend to broaden the scope of their appeal for legislative change.

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