The Kgosi Mapuru II Correctional Centre Court in Tshwane has postponed to Tuesday, 19 October, the case against the military veterans charged with allegedly holding three government ministers hostage.
The suspects appeared in court on Monday after they were arrested last Thursday at St George’s Hotel in Irene, Centurion, and charged with kidnapping.
It was widely reported that 56 people had initially been arrested, however, the National Authority Prosecuting (NPA) has suggested otherwise.
According to media reports, the NPA has clarified that a total of 53 people were nabbed, but only 52 appeared in court as one of the suspects is still in hospital.
The Citizen made unsuccessful attempts to reach the NPA’s Gauteng spokesperson Phindile Mjonondwane for comment.
The suspects are expected to be back in the dock for their bail application at 10am on Tuesday.
The group of disgruntled military veterans had 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.
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.
They are demanding R4.4 million in reparations for a each veteran, including a housing allowance, for their children and wives to have medical aid benefits and children to be put through tertiary education, among other demands.
According to the publication, the veterans had agreed that the meeting at the St George’s Hotel was their “opportunity”.
Military veteran Johannes Mphahlele told The Citizen that the hostage situation was necessary as they had been raising the same complaints since 2001.
“There was nothing wrong with the hostage situation. These people don’t listen. We have been fighting this since 2001, when it was Terror Lekota [who was the defence minister].
“All these ministers have fixed nothing. Thandi Modise is sitting on someone else’s mess and it will be hard for us to push her to do things now because she inherited it,” said Mphahlele.