Eba Kandovazu

THE Chairperson of the former Plan combatants, Matheus Nangolo, has called on Auditor General, Junias Kandjeke, to audit the books of the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, alleging irregularities and misappropriation of funds.

Matheus was reacting to Frans Kapofi, Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs’ submission in Parliament that only N$ 9,731,809,862 has been spent on all different programmes benefiting veterans of Namibia’s liberation struggle since 2010. Kapofi says 30 223 veterans and their dependents are registered with the ministry.

“We know that they included their siblings and those that do not even qualify. We know there is a lot of outstanding issues. Some people to date have not even received a penny, or any funding for projects. Some veterans do not even receive a monthly payment. Others receive as little as N$700 while others get up to N$ 20 000 per month. We find that it is highly unfair. Some people who went into exile in the 70s receive less money compared to those who went just before independence. We demand that this type of corruption be investigated by Kandjeke,” Nangolo says.

Kapofi says N$ 1 511 150 000 was received by veterans for the once off gratuity of N$ 50 000 and N$ 20 000, respectively adding that the N$ 50 000 once off lump sum was paid to veterans whose liberation struggle activities were carried out from 1959 to 1990, while the N$ 20 000 was paid off to veterans whose activities were done between 1988 to 1990.

An additional N$4,208,358,167 has been spent on 18 663 veterans in terms of the Monthly Financial Assistance from 2009 to September 2021,while N$ 2,030,251,700 has been spent on II 057 veterans for individual projects, Kapofi informs. Another N$1,609,248,750 was spent on 7 273 veterans between 2014 and September this year in terms of the Improvement Welfare Grant.

He says 6091 children of veterans have been registered with the ministry, of whom 804 are under the age of 18 while 5287 are older.

Those below 18 years are eligible to benefit from the Veterans Fund through the inheritance of the monthly subventions for those whose parents are deceased, until they are 18 years old. Children aged 18 and older may apply for education and training grants, Kapofi says.

To date, 1008 children have benefited from the Education and Training Grant Scheme, the minister stresses. Kapofi also reveals that a 21 526 veterans applied for project funding, and only 10 448 received funding. According to the minister, 11 139 veterans are still awaiting funding, while 61 veterans who applied for projects have since passed on.

Kapofi could not say when the next batch of funding would be made available to veterans, citing the current economical downturn of the country. “As to when they can expect to receive such benefit, it would be inappropriate for me to give such an indication given the turbulent economic times in which we find ourselves. We are however working around the clock, exploring all avenues to ensure that they all benefit,” he says.

“All of this money was used to pay for some of the veterans’ projects. The abattoirs at Outapi and Eenhana never took off to a manageable production stage due to severe drought that had hit the country in 2019 followed by the acute economic crunch brought as a result of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the brick making project also never took off as the plant was obsolete. Therefore, there are no benefits accruing to veterans in this regard,” he explains.