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Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
18 Oct 2021
10:03 am

56 military veterans due in court for holding ministers hostage

Citizen Reporter

The group of disgruntled military veterans were arrested last Thursday and charged with kidnapping.

Advocate Simba Chitando says his Twitter account is full of hateful comments. Picture: iStock

The 56 people arrested for allegedly holding three Cabinet ministers hostage are expected to appear in court at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre on Monday.

The group of disgruntled military veterans were arrested last Thursday at St George’s Hotel in Irene, Centurion, and charged with kidnapping.

This was after they prevented Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele from leaving the hotel after a meeting meant to address their grievances collapsed.

The Special Task Force Unit had to swoop in and rescue the ministers, resulting in three people being injured.

ALSO READ: Military veterans were prepared to hold ministers for days until demands were met – report

The group from the former uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) and Azanian National Liberation Army (Azanla) demanded to see President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza after their meeting with the ministers broke down.

Without admitting whether government was embarrassed that the hostage incident, Gungubele on Friday said the situation at the hotel was not acceptable.

“If we are embarrassed because we trusted our people, maybe that’s a consequence we have to live with,” Gungubele said.

“We were not meeting these people for the first time. They had not done this before, there was no reason to suspect they would do what they did,” he added.

The hostage situation with the ministers came just months after the deadly riots that crippled parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July.

Despite this, Modise refuted allegations that South Africa was a failed state.

“I don’t think so. I think South Africa is being put to a test. Even though police came in yesterday to break up the hostage situation, so far we have been able to hold it tightly. For the state to not go overboard in the use of force is a plus for democracy,” Modise said.

Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell

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