Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Night Supervisor
2 minute read
18 May 2022
7:26 pm

‘Manner of arrest complicated identification’ – NPA explains withdrawal of case against veterans

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

To date, no further representations for reinstating prosecution from the complainants have been received.

Supposed military veterans appearing at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional facility's court during their bail hearing after holding cabinet ministers hostage in Irene on 19 October 2021, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles/Pool

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has explained why the case against the 52 liberation struggle war veterans has been withdrawn.

This follows its announcement on Tuesday that the matter was withdrawn after the defence made representations to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in Gauteng Division.

The group appeared at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. The NPA also said the R500 bail paid to secure the veterans’ attendance in court will be reimbursed to them.

Why the case was withdrawn

According to the NPA, the case was withdrawn after “careful consideration” of the contents of the docket.

“The state is of the view that there is no prima facie case because neither the identity nor the individual acts committed by each individual accused can be proven,” explained the NPA in a statement on Wednesday.

The manner in which the arrest was conducted also complicated identification as everyone on the scene was arrested except for the hostage victims, it added.

Following the arrest, a process of elimination was used to establish who were the attendees or employees of the hotel and who were the “actual captors” of the ministers.

This exercise was in vain as the accused before court cannot be linked to the offence.

The complainants were also reluctant to proceed with the matter and sympathised with the accused.

“In their statements, some indicated that they joined in the singing and dancing in the room together with the veterans. One witness said in his statement that there was never a hostile environment in the room. Witnesses were unable to identify who performed what act at the scene.”

To date, no further representations for reinstating prosecution from the complainants have been received.

In October last year, the military veterans allegedly refused Defence Minister Thandi Modise to leave the St George’s Hotel in Tshwane where they were meeting.

The group, comprising the Liberation Struggle War Veterans (LSWV), Apla and Azanla, reportedly got angry after they were promised a meeting with Deputy President David Mabuza, but got Modise and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Defence Minister Thabang Makwetla instead.

READ MORE: Case against 53 military veterans who allegedly held ministers hostage withdrawn