Koevoet and SWATF members do not qualify for veteran status: Jacob Theron

OTJIWARONGO: Former SWATF Chief of Operations Jacob Theron says Koevoet and SWATF members fought on the wrong side of the war during Namibia’s liberation struggle, so they do not qualify for veteran status.

“We fought on the wrong side of the war, and we don’t qualify for any war veteran status at all,” Theron said in an interview with Nampa on Monday.

The 54-year-old was reacting to calls by some South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet members that Government accord them war veteran status so that they can receive the same grants currently given to former freedom fighters.

Theron was the SWATF’s Chief of Operations at the military headquarters in Windhoek.

Born in Karasburg in the //Karas Region in 1960, Theron now works in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in Otjiwarongo as the Otjozondjupa research section head.

“Those of us who fought alongside the South African regime and received a salary to fight the then ‘terrorists’ – the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) fighters – do not qualify for veteran status,” he said.

He went on to say many Namibians fought alongside the South West African Defence Force because they were brainwashed by that regime, adding that people like him and others were made to believe that members of PLAN, the Swapo-Party’s military wing, were terrorists.

He also warned both the former Koevoet and SWATF members threatening to boycott the Presidential and National Assembly elections this year to remember that they will lose twice, as not only will the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs not recognise them, but they will also not make their voices heard by electing leaders of their choice.