R2.1BN for military veterans' pensions

R2.1BN for military veterans' pensions

Treasury has allocated R2.1 billion to benefits for military veterans over the next three years as part of a general increase in social pay-outs in the pre-election budget tabled on Wednesday.

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The budget allocation for military veterans will rise to R504.2 million in 2014/15, and to R608 million and R614 million in 2015/16 and 2016/17, according to the 2014 Estimates of National Expenditure.

The document, tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, foresees that government will provide health services to 7000 veterans this year, with that figure increasing to 12,000 by 2016/17, at a cost of R94 million.

The defence budget will also fund the provision of 6,000 houses to former combatants.

 A key focus of the defence budget over the next three years is funding security operations along and outside South Africa's borders, ranging from anti-pirating measures to active peace enforcement on the continent.

In the past financial year, Treasury increased allocations to the military by R271.9 million to fund peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

At an African Union conference earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma pledged R11 million to help fund the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (Misca).

Over the three-year, medium-term expenditure period, the budget provides for R150 million in support of the UN-approved intervention brigade in the DRC.



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