ED appoints Heroes Dependants board members. The board was appointed in line with the provisions of the Constitution Section 4 of the National Heroes Act Chapter 10:16. Minister of Defence and War Veteran Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri made the appointments yesterday in Harare.
President Mnangagwa has appointed the Heroes Dependants Assistance Board to cater for the welfare of dependants of those declared heroes, as the Government continues making strides to honour the heroes.
The Act of the appointment of the Heroes Dependants Assistance Board was effected in 2016 and yet the appointment had not come to fruition. Members of the board are the chairperson Mrs Beauty Sibanda, deputised by Mrs Patricia Mhunguwo, while the board members are Mrs Eustina Magocha, Mrs Irene Hloko and Mrs Sikhumbuzo Mguni.
Functions of the board include; to keep and maintain a register in which shall be entered the names of every hero and their dependants as well to examine and determine the claim of any person to be registered as a dependent and to determine the form and amount of any State assistance which may be granted to such dependent. The board also hears and determines any representations or complaints made by any registered dependent relating to the payment or delivery of any State assistance to the beneficiaries.
Speaking during the ceremony, Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the Ministry was overwhelmed with a lot of tasks, adding that the board would now be responsible for all administrative matters of the war veterans dependants.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the board should strive to include the dependants to fit into the National programmes aimed to bring economic renaissance like the National Development Strategy 1 and provide dependants with a platform to handle grievances regarding State assistance and several other welfare matters.
She said the concerns of the dependants were taking long to be addressed, adding that the board would fast track plans to address them.
“Your appointment coincides with the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 where the thrust is anchored on a transformative and developmental agenda,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri. “It is critical for the dependants of the departed heroes and heroines to play a key role, both as actors and beneficiaries in the new development trajectory.
“It is imperative that your action plans be informed by and feed into the NDS1. Regarding State assistance, families of the departed heroes and heroines have complained for too long that the amount and duration of entitlement is inadequate. They have also raised that the amount does not take into account specific circumstances of different dependants as the tendency is to pay a flat figure over the years.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said various considerations were noted in selecting members of the board, which was in line with the dictates of the Constitution and fairness.
“In coming up with the members of the board, the issue of fair regional representation was considered in line with Section 18 of the Constitution,” she said. “Dependants of both national and provincial heroes and heroines are also represented in the board.
“Equally due prominence was given to the selection and appointment of members with critical qualifications that are essential in driving various processes and assignments that the board will be expected to accomplish from time to time.
“I urge you to be fully acquainted with the National Heroes Act including several provisions that deal with the powers of the Minister before your first meeting, a copy of the Act is your handbook. The appointment comes at a time when my office is inundated with concerns from various stakeholders that the Government is not doing enough to look after the welfare of heroes dependants. In the absence of a board to look into their grievances, the Ministry could not do much except to deal with matters of routine administration.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the Government would soon appoint a commissioner through the Ministry of Labour and Social Services to work in liaison with the board.
“In carrying out your duties, you will work through the Commissioner of Heroes Dependants Assistance who is yet to be appointed by the Public Service Commission,” she said. “The Commissioner is responsible for payment or delivery of State assistance as directed by the Minister from time to time.”
In her acceptance speech, chairperson of the board Mrs Beauty Sibanda thanked the Government for entrusted her to carry out such a task and pledged to work for the people.
“I really want to appreciate the Government for trusting me to hold such a position to cater for well-deserving people,” she said. “The Government has shown confidence in us so we will never put ourselves first.”
Source – The Herald
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