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Johannesburg – The group of military veterans accused of holding two ministers and a deputy minister hostage are expected to return to court today.
Legal proceedings will take place at Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria.
The 53 former members of Mkhonto we Sizwe, the Azan People’s Liberation Army and the Azan National Liberation Army were arrested after allegedly holding Defense and Veterans Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang hostage Makwetla and Minister of the Presidency Mondli Gungubele held hostage at the St George Hotel. at Centurion, Pretoria, last Thursday.
The group faces charges of intimidation and, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), terrorism charges could be added.
Dali Mpofu SC, who represents some of the veterans, told magistrate Bheki Ntshingila that the state did not know what to accuse its clients.
“We live in a state of law, every accused has the right to be released,” he said.
Mpofu, who represents 30 of the defendants, added that the prosecution filed a surprising proposal claiming to have a preliminary kidnapping charge against the group.
According to the lawyer, there was no reason to detain the veterans for more than 100 hours on Monday without processing them when the law called for suspects to be treated within 12 hours.
Mpofu argued that the law stipulated that the verification of the addresses of suspects had to be carried out within 12 hours and that it did not differentiate between Saturday and Sunday.
He said that not even a single person was treated, and that this was a serious indictment against the prosecution.
“Each person here is individually a holder of constitutional rights,” Mpofu said. He added that the state’s plan from Friday was to file a request to have the case postponed from Friday.
“They knew they weren’t going to do the verification exercise on Friday,” Mpofu said.
He said the state’s case was that one of the veterans closed the door at the meeting venue, but another 52 people were arrested.
“The other 52 people are here who were arrested for being there (St George’s Hotel),” Mpofu said, adding that even hotel staff were initially arrested.
The NPA produced an interim indictment stating that the veterans are charged with kidnapping for preventing the two ministers, the deputy minister and two other attendees from leaving the premises after the meeting.
She has not ruled out the possibility of adding other charges, although she is not ready to address the court about the timing of the alleged offenses.
The addresses of the defendants were not confirmed and the role of the NPA was not shown until Monday morning.
On Friday, the Presidential Veterans Task Force chaired by Vice President David Mabuza made provincial visits to meet with provincial veterans associations and provincial governments to assess some of the projects launched to help veterans. fighters.
The task force said there was no reason for the ex-combatant group to act illegally as the engagements between the government and their associations had been productive and cordial even though the discussions had been difficult.
Military veterans accused of holding ministers hostage not treated by cops for over 100 hours
SourceMilitary veterans accused of holding ministers hostage not treated by cops for over 100 hours