No extra benefits for Koevoet mercenaries - Geingob

29 June 2018 | Government

President Hage Geingob is adamant that former South West African Territorial Force and Koevoet members do not deserve any extra benefits, in addition to the old-age pension they receive from government and normal state medical care.

Speaking during an engagement with the Namibian National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) at State House yesterday, Geingob said: “Koevoet, I gave them a hearing… they were mercenaries. Others who are recognised are those who were fighting to free Namibia.”

SWATF was the auxiliary arm of the then South African Defence Force, while Koevoet was the counter-insurgency branch of the then South West Africa police.

Koevoet members have repeatedly demanded compensation, a demand that has repeatedly been shot down by the Swapo-led government.

Responding to a question by Geingob whether former SWATF and Koevoet members deserved to be compensated by government, recently elected NNLVA president Ben Shikongo said he agreed with statements already made by the statesman.

According to Shikongo, SWATF and Koevoet members did not contribute to Namibia's independence and therefore did not deserve to claim any compensation from government.

“If you were fighting against independence, why should you claim from Independence?” Shikongo asked.

Speaking during a Heroes' Day celebration in Oshakati last year, Geingob said SWATF and Koevoet soldiers should demand compensation from the apartheid government

“We will never be convinced that entertaining the demands of former Koevoet soldiers to be considered as war veterans is constructive. They were paid by those who hired them and [they] will not receive compensation from this government,” the head of state said at the

time.

Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet), which represents the former apartheid soldiers, has voiced its frustration over government's refusal to pay over monies owed to SWATF and Koevoet members.

One of its members, Frans Jabulani, hit back at government's stance and Geingob's comments made at the Heroes' Day celebrations by saying: “This recent attack has caused huge rejection from the general public and triggered hatred and a hostile situation against ex-soldiers of SWATF and Koevoet. We were made to believe that we are children of the Namibian house, where everybody should feel safe and protected and nobody left out.”

In 1992, the apartheid government reportedly handed over millions to Namibia, which was to have been paid to People's Liberation of Namibia (Plan) soldiers, as well as SWATF and Koevoet

members.

The money was divided into three parts, with former Plan fighters getting N$12 million, while N$12 million was invested in the Development Brigade Corporation and the other monies divided equally between SWATF and Koevoet soldiers.



OGONE TLHAGE

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