The South African Cape Corps Military Veterans Association (SACCMVA), which has since its establishment in 2015 unsuccessfully attempted to be recognised as an official veterans group by the Department of Military Veterans, has now finally succeeded in receiving official recognition thanks to the assistance of AfriForum.
The Executive Committee of the SACCMVA approached AfriForum in October 2017 for assistance after the Department of Military Veterans kept postponing the veterans group’s application for recognition. After a further delay, AfriForum’s legal team placed the department on terms and in reaction to this Derrick Mgwebi, Acting Director-General of this department, indicated in writing – albeit only a day before the deadline which AfriForum set them – that the SACCMVA has now officially been recognised.
The SACCMVA is a military veterans organisation consisting of former members of the South African Cape Corps (SACC). The SACC consisted of brown/Khoisan soldiers that were part of the former South African Defence Force (SADF) from 1966 to 1989 and were deployed during the South African Border War.
Luke Plaatjies, President of the SACCMVA, expressed his gratitude towards AfriForum for the role which the civil rights organisation played to ensure that the SACC soldiers now finally receive recognition as military veterans. According to Plaatjies, it is a disgrace that the majority of the SACC soldiers were not integrated into the former South African Defence Force (SADF), as well as the fact that they didn’t receive assistance to be trained again or be employed alternatively since the unit’s disbandment in 1992. Plaatjies pointed to the fact that these former members of the defence force didn’t receive any state support after completion of their service despite the fact that other groups such as uMkhonto we Sizwe did in fact receive such support. “The official recognition of the SACCMVA now offers a solid base from where the organisation can henceforth fight for the interests of our members that have been excluded up until now.”
Daniël Eloff, AfriForum’s Legal Advisor, welcomed the decision by the Department of Military Veterans to officially recognise the SACCMVA.
According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the fact that brown soldiers of the SACC were neglected and didn’t receive the same benefits as other groups like uMkhonto we Sizwe, is a symptom of the bigger problem, namely that the rights of members of the brown community are still being infringed upon today. “The SACC soldiers deserve recognition for the big role that they played in the history and that is why AfriForum, as a civil rights organisation seeking justice, immediately agreed to help the SACCMVA when they approached us.”