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ICYMI: Cabinet ministers in hostage drama

When the words “South Africa”, “defence minister” and “hostage” hit local and international headlines last week, it kinda screamed “Hollywood” – but NOT in a good way. 🧐

In case you missed it, last Thursday our defence & military veterans minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele were ironically left “defenceless” (thanks, Twitter). They were held against their will by so-called military veterans in a Pretoria hotel’s conference room for a few hours. Police managed to diffuse the situation with minimum harm. 

The brief siege related to a long-standing dispute: people claiming to be anti-apartheid heroes (though the age of some of “vets” calls that into question!) are demanding payouts of R4 million EACH. 😯 The ministers were held when they started packing their bags to leave after the ridiculous demand was reiterated. 

Though no one was seriously harmed, the latest event, as Bloomberg reported, has left the government “red-faced”. It brings the state of our security under scrutiny, especially coming so soon after the July lootings and unrest. 😓

More than 50 veterans were arrested and charged with crimes that included kidnapping. Finance minister Enoch Godongwana said this “isolated incident” shouldn’t deter investors. We think the government shouldn’t have met with the “vets” in the first place and ministers should instead focus their energy on more pressing matters. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 21 October 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.