The SAPS confirmed that that Minister of Defence, Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Defense Minister, Thabang Makwatla were held hostage by members of the Leberation Struggle War Veterans group on Thursday evening (14 October).
According to the SAPS National Spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo the police received a report at approximately 19:15 on Thursday of a possible hostage situation unfolding at a hotel in Centurion, Pretoria.
“We deployed our various disciplines of the SAPS and when attempts to negotiate with the hostage-takers failed we successfully penetrated the room where these people have been kept hostage. We rescued at least three hostages, of the three hostages, two of them were cabinet ministers and one a deputy minister,” said the spokesperson.
The police said that 56 people were apprehended after authorities gained control of the situation. Contrary to earlier reports, Naidoo said that no shots were fired during the rescue.
“The 56 suspects are currently in police custody and they are expected to be charged for at least three counts of kidnapping,” said Naidoo.
The veterans reportedly prevented the ministers from leaving the St George Hotel after a breakdown in negotiations of the benefits the veterans were demanding and the government’s failure to meet their demands. They reportedly demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa must address their concerns, himself, as Modise was not able to address their grievances.
The veteran’s group is made up of former soldiers from the ANC’s uMkhonto weSizwe, the PAC’s APLA and Azania’s Azania members. Earlier this week the veterans camped outside the ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House, and demanded a meeting with the party’s leaders.
The veterans expected to meet with David Mabuza, who is the head of the presidential task team on issues related to military veterans, but he was unable to attend the meeting and Modise and her contingent were sent instead.
Sources: The South African, SAPS
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