The National Freedom Party (NFP) says the decision of the military veterans to hold hostage Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele is regrettable but understandable.
The party’s Secretary-General, Canaan Mdletshe says the incident is a result of frustration on the part of the veterans. The military veterans allegedly held the trio hostage at a hotel in Irene, Pretoria on Thursday night.
56 military veterans have been arrested following the alleged hostage drama.
The military veterans are believed to have been from the African National Congress (ANC) military wing uMkhonto weSizwe, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania’s (PAC) APLA and Azanian People’s Organisation’s (AZAPO) AZANLA. The group had marched to the ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House in Johannesburg earlier this week.
Mdletshe says they are calling on the government to urgently attend to the group’s grievances.
“The decision by the military veterans to hold ministers hostage is regrettable, but at the same time, it is understandable. They are frustrated because of years of begging the ANC government to listen to them. The ANC has become arrogant, has forgotten about them. I think what they did is an indication of frustration, is an indication that they are gatvol. It’s an indication that they can no longer tolerate the ANC’s ignorance of their plight. We are therefore calling on the ANC government to step up the processes of negotiating with them but more than anything else, we are pleading with the ANC to attend to their issues,” says Mdletshe.
Government condemns hostage drama involving ministers and former military combatants
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has described the alleged hostage drama as unfortunate. He says although he understands the concerns of the military veterans, he does not condone any form of violence.
Steenhuisen says the approach of the military veterans in demanding that they be heard was wrong.
“I think that it’s unfortunate I never condone violence as a way to resolving issues and I think it’s unfortunate that I think that it’s wrong what happened, but I do think we need to look at the underlying causes. It’s been a bubbling tension that’s been allowed to build up here and it hasn’t been resolved, and it’s not that’s not bubbling to the surface. When you make people promises election after election after year and you don’t fulfil those promises I understand that very well because the case I’m dealing with is a case where victims are treated unfairly,” says Steenhuisen.
Military Veterans | Government condemns the hostage situation involving ministers
Additional reporting: Katlego Nyoni