Ministers freed from hostage by liberation war veterans

2021-Oct-15   08:07

Ministers freed from hostage by liberation war veterans
Defence minister, Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele (pictured), and Deputy Defence Minister, Thabang Makwetla, were all safely rescued from a tense hostage situation.
Source: Gomolemo Mothomogolo/Newsnote video screenshot

- Gomolemo Mothomogolo

Defence minister, Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, and Deputy Defence Minister, Thabang Makwetla, were all safely rescued from a tense hostage situation.

The three were held hostage at St George Hotel in Irene on Thursday night when a meeting between a government delegation and liberation military veterans collapsed. The veterans decided to hold the ministers hostage until their demands were met.

Members of the Liberation Struggle War Veterans demand, among other things, a gratuity payment of R4.2-million each, agricultural land, a financial institution that would provide veterans with funding to start businesses and support to grow those businesses. On Thursday they accused President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, of being arrogant.

The South African Police Services (SAPS) said negotiation with the hostage takers failed and both the SAPS and military police moved in and rescued the ministers.

“After attempts to negotiate with the hostage takers to release the hostages had failed. Police resorted to a tactical approach and successfully rescued the hostages. There were no shots fired during the rescue,” said police in a statement.

Police said at least 56 people, including seven women, have been arrested and they are likely to face at least three counts of kidnapping.

”While processing the suspects, three of them have been taken for medical checks after they complained of pains," said a police statement.

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, described the incident as “untunable and legally unacceptable”.

“We found ourself in a situation that I consider untunable and legally unacceptable. We though we were in a meeting to attend problems that affect military veterans. We couldn’t agree on how the meeting should take place and I thought we had reached an agreement that we should adjourn,” he said.

“As we were leaving the meeting, proceeding to the door, they closed the doors and it was at that moment that we realized that we were held hostage.”

The 56 arrested liberation struggle veterans are expected to appear in court soon. Despite the arrests, they vowed to remain defiant.

Search Newsnote