Ministers set up a trap for us, say war vets

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A file image of MK Vets outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
A file image of MK Vets outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Moeketsi Mamane

The war vets who held government ministers hostage during a meeting at a Pretoria hotel on Thursday evening have accused the ministers of “setting up a trap” for them.

The group was arrested after allegedly holding the minister in the presidency, Mondli Ngungubele, defence and military veterans minister, Thandi Modise and her deputy, Thabang Makwetla hostage during a meeting at the St Georges Hotel.

Ntando Shezi, who was part of the group but managed to escape arrest when police pounced and apprehended 56 of the war vets at the hotel, said the government ministers had been wanting them to be arrested.

“They were monitoring us since we started our protest at the ANC offices in Luthuli House on Monday.

“The didn’t like the fact that we have shone the spotlight on them for their failure to rescue poor war veterans.

“They then called us to a meeting at the hotel under the pretext that we will be addressed by Deputy President David Mabuza,” Shezi, who hails from Pietermaritzburg said.

After the meeting at the hotel broke down and the ministers were about to leave, the war veterans, who are demanding reparation, blocked all the hotel’s exits.

However, Shezi said the war vets were left with no choice.

“The ministers were extremely hostile during the meeting. They deliberately provoked us so that they could find an excuse to get us arrested.

“They were able to achieve their objective because most of our members were arrested. That’s what the ministers wanted,” he said.

The 56 war veterans who have been arrested include members of the Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) former members of Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) and Azapo’s Azanian National Liberation Army (Azanla).

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