‘Struggle kids’ want recognition as veterans
A group of children born during the liberation struggle want the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Office of the Vice-President to recognize them as veterans.
A different group from those camping at Ndilimani camp in Brakwater yesterday marched to the veterans affairs office to hand in a petition requesting the department to move their names from youth ministry to the directorate. The group comprised of employed and unemployed members of children born in exile.
The group general secretary Paulus Shapaka said they feel excluded and unimportant in that they are separated from their parents under the veterans affairs department.
He stated that if their parents get project money they too should benefit.
The petition that is signed by about 7 000 people gave the department 14 working days to respond to their plea.
Shapaka said they humbly requested the department to take action regarding moving their names from the youth ministry to veterans affairs.
“We extremely need your cooperation to avoid further action because we know and understand that children born during the war are the original dependants of both living and deceased veterans and we deserve to be recognized in that category,” stated Shapaka.
Shapaka further explained the current situation is a sign of separating the exile kids from their parents because their names are on the same repatriation forms of their parents, which automatically makes them exile kids.
The permanent secretary Hopelong Ipinge who received the petition said they would study the group’s plea and revert back to the group soonest.
He said they would respond in accordance with the law, including the Veterans Act.
Ipinge explained the Act stipulates they need to render services to veterans of the liberation struggle not dependants of veterans.
He said dependants can benefit in terms of education and skills development. “If they want to upgrade their skills, they can go to any tertiary institution and get an acceptance letter from that institution and we pay,” he said.
Group general secretary Shapaka handed the petition to veterans affairs permanent secretary Ipinge yesterday morning.