"Much more can be done for ex servicemen, other than them having to be taxi drivers and security guards". This is a quote from an ex solder of mine who is now taxi driver, and that has been pricking me ever since.
I am fully aware of the existence of the Veteran Affairs Department, the Ex Servicemen Association which I deemed a 'politically aligned' association, LTAT and PERHEBAT; each having its own function and responsibility that is related to the Armed Forces and ex servicemen included.
I am told that each year, a total of no less than 3000 soldiers (including officers) leave the military service, for one reason or the other. This is a large figure by any standards, and what they do after leaving the service, is not very well known. Some do make it in the second vocation, but the majority do not.
We do know that among those that leave, there are those that has acquired some expertise that has the potential for business outside. What I am referring at are those soldiers that have the technical expertise; for instance vehicle mechanics, technicians, welders, electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, weapon technicians and a host of other expertise. These soldiers are experts in their vocation, and what differentiates them from their civilian counterparts, is that they are imbued with discipline.
What I am proposing is that the various organizations mentioned in paragraph 2. above, should get together and to think of how to harness the expertise and experience of the soldiers, and to turn it into a profitable business venture, that will benefit the soldiers, the organizations and the nation.
As a start, we can look at building a business venture that is related to vehicle maintenance; somewhat parallel to Spanco. This business is large and ever growing, with some government contracts awarded to the company. Similarly, we can also look at building a business related to agriculture, and my thought is in the cattle and goat rearing business on a commercial basis. Surely, states will be willing to help by leasing out suitable areas for such businesses.
With regards to funds, LTAT should take the lead, and to be seen as contributing directly to the development of business opportunities for ex servicemen. The businesses developed must be fashioned professionally, managed by people, (preferably officers and soldiers) with the right acumen for business.
I am not a businessman, but I see the enormous potential in soldiers if their expertise is properly harnessed. The bottom line to this proposal (which need to studied in depth) is to help ex soldiers to lead a better life, and to continue contributing their services to the nation; not as soldiers but as civilians.