|August 26, 2006
New housing scheme for SWAPO veterans
Just before the 40th anniversary of the start of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the former armed wing of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) - armed struggle against South Africa, information minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah announced that Cabinet had approved N$5.8 million (US$828,500) for building 45 houses and renovating two existing ones, and a further N$1.5 million (US$215,000) to equip the houses with solar power. Another N$2 million (US$286,000) was allocated for the construction of the housing for ex-fighters over next five years. Former Namibian political prisoners held on Robben Island by South Africa's apartheid regime are among the beneficiaries.
This programme, as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, had stressed, had to be seen in light of government's efforts to address problems faced by ex-combatants and all Namibian citizens. She added that the government would not allow someone to speak on behalf of the former combatants, as the government already knows their needs. She appealed to Namibians to be patient and not to listen to fake ex-combatants that were there to confuse the existing system. By saying this, Ndaitwah referred to a group that allegedly represents ex-combatants and that demands, among other things, a payout of R500 000 (US$71,500) each for their part in Swapo’s struggle, a monthly pension of N$8,000 (US$1,150), free medical services, education for themselves and their children, and equity in the mining and fishing industries. In a televised speech earlier in August, Pohamba had urged war veterans to be patient. "Since Independence in 1990, those who were 55 years or older and unemployed were enrolled with the War Veterans Trust Fund for a monthly social grant of N$500 (US$71), in addition to their monthly pensions [of US$52]," he said. "All ex-PLAN fighters who are younger than 55 and are disabled also receive N$500 (US$71) monthly from the Trust."
(New Era, Windhoek / Mail & Guardian, South Africa)