The South African Council of Churches (SACC) says the actions of the military veterans are an indication that relations have gone horribly wrong, for them to choose to take people hostage as a form of communication.

Police say 56 military veterans were arrested and will be charged with kidnapping.

This after they held the Defence Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele hostage at a hotel in Irene in Pretoria on Thursday evening following a failed meeting.

It’s believed the veterans belonged to ANC’s military wing uMkhonto we Sizwe, the PAC’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) and AZAPO’s military wing Azanian National Liberations Army (AZANLA).

In a statement,  SACC General-Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says there must be what he calls,  some deep-seated reason for the military veterans to have collectively acted in such a way.

“While we cannot condone the actions of the military veterans as they are unlawful, we believe that something has gone horribly wrong in the way we relate with each other, that such extreme measures would be chosen as a means of communication. We need to open the lid on how our military veterans are treated, in order to get to a place of understanding the sequence of events that has led to this situation,” says Mpumlwana.

The SACC says South Africans are indebted to the military veterans.

“As a nation, we owe a huge debt to our military veterans. We believe that beyond the legal implications of this situation, there is work to be done to dig deeper and address this matter in such a way as would bring both parties to a commonplace of understanding, satisfaction and peace,” adds Mpumlwana.

The statement goes further to say, “The SACC is prepared to work with the military veterans and the Ministry of Defence to offer support in finding solutions for a peaceful resolution to any challenges being experienced in the day-to-day honouring of those who suffered for justice and freedom in South Africa. The SACC recognises that there is deep and widespread woundedness in South Africa, with every sector of society in a state of tension and grievance. As part of our ministry of national healing and reconciliation, we believe there is an urgent need for a nation-building initiative that must address all outstanding issues. The SACC triennial conference meeting next week will deliberate on the proposal for such a healing initiative.”

Political Analyst Xolani Dube on what could be at the root of the suspected hostage event: