56 military vets arrested for holding ministers hostage expected in court

The 56 members of the Liberation Struggle War Veterans have spent at least four nights behind bars across several police stations in Tshwane.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Minister of Defence Thabang Makwetla  were held hostage by former liberation combatants at the St George’s hotel on 14 October 2021. Picture: Veronica Mokhoali/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The 56 people arrested when struggle military veterans allegedly held ministers hostage are expected in Pretoria Magistrates Court on Monday.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy, Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele had to be rescued by police after they were allegedly held against their will following a meeting with former combatants at a Centurion hotel last week.

The meeting was related to a long-standing battle over the welfare of struggle military veterans.

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Members of the Liberation Struggle War Veterans have spent at least four nights behind bars across several police stations in Tshwane.

The organisation’s Mduduzi Chiyi maintains that the 56 accused did nothing wrong, except demand accountability for the mismanagement of the Military Veterans Department. Chiyi said that unkept promises had deepened the sense of disregard, frustration and neglect among veterans.

"Remember, all our members from around Gauteng will gather in Pretoria. And from there, we're going to show support to our comrades," he said.

While the hostage drama signals yet another cause for concern regarding the country’s security, the disbanded Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) said that government’s response was an over-reaction.

WATCH: Minister held hostage by frustrated military veterans

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