SWATF vets not moving


Former South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet members that moved to Windhoek during the past 13 months demanding to be recognised by the government as veterans said they are not in a hurry to go back to the regions they hail from.The ex-soldiers have been camping at the residence of late OvaHerero Chief Kuaima Riruako in Katutura, Windhoek. The Chairperson of the Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet), Jabulani Ndeuyema, said the Chief of the City Police Abraham Kanime approached him recently to discuss the safety of Namvet members because they are sleeping in a river bed next to NAMCOL’s Yetu Yama center which is not safe for them.Kanime said all ex-soldiers who came from rural areas are not used to city life and that’s why he needed to discuss issues on how they can work together with the City Police to combat crime in the area where they are camping.Ndeunyema noted that they are struggling to survive. “We only eat one meal per day and are dependent on Good Samaritans to provide food for us.” He said some of the women in the group are pregnant and must give birth under extreme conditions, since they don’t have means of transport or money to go to hospital.On the other hand the Health Department of the City of Windhoek (CoW) also addressed the meeting on health and safety measures and said the members should follow the Public Health Act. According to the Act they should not urinate and defecate in public and open areas. The group are protesting as part of their demand to be accorded war veteran status to benefit from the same financial perks given to war veterans of Swapo’s former People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN). Recognized veterans receives a monthly N$2000 grant and are also entitled to a N$50 000 lump sum and a once-off N$200 000 lump sum to start up a business.SWAFT was an auxiliary arm of the South African Defence Force in the then South-West Africa from 1977 to 1989. Similarly, Koevoet was a major paramilitary organization under apartheid South Africa and an active component from 1979 to 1990 in the Namibian war of Independence.