LIVE BLOG: 'we will make sure we are not taken hostage again' - Govt

Defence Minister Thandi Modise and her deputy, Thabang Makwetla as well as Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele give a briefing on what unfolded at St George's Hotel on Thursday night.

Modise says there are no plans to drop the police charges.

Modise says government cannot afford to give veterans R2millon packages each.

Modise says there is no plan to increase security around ministers as they feel there is no need and there are more pressing matters.

The standoff lasted about 3 hours.

Gungubele says government believes the president is in control of the country.

She says they won't tolerate acts to disregard other people's rights.

She says SA is being put to the test.

"We will be more careful when we meet and we will make sure we are not taken hostage again."

She says this is an issue where there is no separation of state.

Modise now answers questions. She says the issue emanated from an ANC discussion, but the task team is a government arm that is also involved in the matter.

"We were not ashamed. We did not feel threateend. We just felt uncomfortable," says Modise.

Modise says she will do a probe into why the lives of veterans have not improved.

"We did not feel that our lives were in danger."

Modise says she does not think this demonstrates that the state is weak.

Modise says she is still prepared to meet with the veterans.

Modise says this demonstrates that SA is not a security-heavy state. That government trusts veterans enough to sit with them and listen to their concerns.

"As we proceeded to the door, we realised the doors were being locked... We were there against our will, but it was not violent."

Gungubele says the veterans were demanding the Ramaphosa and Mabuza be there at the meeting and became disgruntled when they were told he could not be there.

"It's not acceptable... We are dealing with a maturing democracy, which enjoins us to listen to our people. When we listen, we start on the basis of paranoia or suspicion," he says about government being aware of this possibly happening. "Going forward, we have to be more alert."

Gungubele is now responding to questions frm journalists.

"In our view, there was no reason for this group to respond in an unlawful manner," says Gungubele.

Ongoing engagements are being held with the Arts and Culture department to set up memorial sites in and outside SA.

Gungubele says work is still done being done in areas such as housing, where there is still a lot of work to be done.

He says they understand that all parties appreciated the work that has been done to date. This includes housing, social relief interventions and expunging of previous criminal records.

He says the task team's work has proceeded well and has delivered on its commitment to deal with issues raised.

Mondli Gungubele starts the briefing with background into the task team.

WATCH LIVE: Ministers briefing

South Africa is still recovering from the violent and deadly anarchy that broke out in the country in July.

Guests who were caught up in Thursday night's hostage drama at St George’s Hotel in Centurion said that the hostile standoff was yet another demonstration of the ineptitude of South Africa’s state security.

As Eyewitness News gained entrance into the conference venue, several ex-combatants were detained, with police tight-lipped on the safety of the ministers or injuries suffered during the operation.

When attempts to negotiate with the hostage-takers failed, special forces stormed the room. With police firing tear gas, escorting the two Cabinet ministers and deputy minister to safety.

In a video leaked to Eyewitness News during the meeting, tensions ran high after veterans accused Thandi Modise of failing to address their grievances. Disgruntled members then blocked the doors.

Scores of law enforcement officials swarmed the St George's Conference Centre in Irene after a meeting between military veterans and the defence minister turned into a hostile standoff.

Eyewitness News was on the scene when the trio was freed by the special task force, with the assistance of military police at about 10pm on Thursday night.

On Thursday, drama unfolded when Liberation Struggle War Veterans protested against the government’s failure to pay them reparations.