organisations do not assist those who served with WK, APLA or AZANLA.
The Legion does, using funds specially obtained for the purpose.
On behalf of the RCEL, the Legion cares for military veterans from
other Commonwealth countries who now live in South Africa. Assistance
is obtained from national, corps and regimental funds in Britain. There
are other schemes which care for specific needs. These include the
South African Soldier Graves Organisation, which assists in the upkeep
military cemeteries, a fund which provides for former prisoners-of-war
and a prospect to visit veterans in psychiatric institutions.
The Legion is well known for
its very long, and at times difficult, struggle or behalf of military
pensioners and their families. It took decades to get some benefits
such as equal pensions for all, but the struggle continues to get the
war veterans (old age pensioners) and the disabled a better deal. Daily
the aged and the disabled turn to the Legion provinces with a large
variety of problems encountered in collecting their meagre grants.
One of our biggest success stories is Operation Contact. This is a
service provided by the Secretariat to those who were physically,
mentally and socially disabled. Also assisted are their dependents and
widows. Operation Contact keeps in touch with them to establish what
their needs and problems are. Although it is not possible to
calculate the cash benefits obtained over the past decade, one expert
estimates it at between fifteen and twenty-million rand. The total of
arrears payments obtained through the scheme now exceeds six-million
The Legion's experience and
expertise has long been available to other organisations in the
veterans community. Over the years associations and
organisations which were no longer able to carry on with their work,
turned to the Legion to assume responsibility for the task. The oldest
of the bodies amalgamated with the Legion in this way has celebrated
its 101st anniversary and is still going strong!
In the present difficult times, other organisations are being assisted
with administrative services only. In the process both the Legion and
the customer retain their independence.