Eighteen years into democracy, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is moving towards the end of finalising pension payments to former non-statutory forces (NSF) soldiers.
Lt-Gen Themba Nkabinde, SANDF chief of human resources, said: “A lot of progress had been made, but there is still much work ahead.” He was addressing his first media briefing as the top military personnel man on Tuesday.
The man who was previously general officer commanding the SA Army Infantry Formation said the dispensation created by amending the Government Employees Pension Fund, abolished the need for former NSF soldiers to contribute.
It also recognised the full period of NSF service of soldiers who joined the SANDF in 1994.
These changes have to date seen more than 8000 former NSF soldiers gaining recognition – and accompanying pension benefits – for their service prior to joining the SANDF. The number of former NSF soldiers who have resigned or retired from the SANDF and now qualify for full pension benefits total 11106.
NSF soldiers are in the finalisation process, while payment and recalculated arrear gratuities for 1261 of their colleagues are complete, with additional gratuities due to another 3959 NSF soldiers also finalised.
“We have come a long way but there is still a lot of work ahead,” Nkabinde said, saying the assistance of the Department of Home Affairs had been enlisted to track down former NSF soldiers who had not joined the SANDF.
“Where people have died, the payments obviously have to go to their immediate families and this tracking down process takes time. We will continue until everyone is accounted for,” he said.
He would not be drawn on any completion date for all NSF soldiers to be registered in terms of the amended Government Employees Pension Law.
The NSF project office in Pretoria has to date put more than 24400 mostly Apla and MK soldiers onto the government’s pension fund.