Cape Town – The uMkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has come out in defence of the 56 war veterans who were arrested during a hostage drama that involved two ministers at the St George’s Hotel in Pretoria last week.
Defence minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele were on Thursday kept hostage following a meeting with liberation war veterans to hear complaints ranging from lack of decent housing to the government’s failure to provide for their children.
Although the MKMVA was not part of the meeting as an organisation, it said on Saturday that some of its members were part of the proceedings.
In a statement issued through its spokesperson Carl Niehaus, the MKMVA demanded the “immediate release” of the 56 arrested war vetrans.
It lambasted the government for what it described as a total over-reaction when the police special task force “used excessive force to resolve a non-existent hostage, and non-violent, situation”.
MKMVA concerned about excessive force having been used against military veterans, and calls for the demands of military veterans to be addressed urgently. pic.twitter.com/yfYBhmhIj8
— Carl Niehaus (@niehaus_carl) October 16, 2021
The MKMVA refuted reports that a hostage situation unfolded at the St George’s Hotel and said at no stage was there any violence, or threat to the lives of the ministers.
“MKMVA calls on the government to immediately release all the military veterans that have been arrested, and instead of being overly defensive and aggressive, to respectfully engage with all military veterans.
“We are deeply concerned that 56 military veterans have been arrested, among them three women, and mostly elderly people. It is even more disconcerting that stun-grenades were used in the raid on the meeting venue, and that some of those who have been arrested sustained injuries,” said the MKMVA.
Compiled by Reginald Nhlapo