Tensions were palpable inside St George’s Hotel, in Pretoria, where Ministers Thandi Modise and Mondli Gungubele were held hostage by ANC military veterans, on Thursday evening.
Ministers held hostage: Here’s what happened
Earlier this week, Luthuli House was evacuated in what the ANC termed a security breach. This is after military veterans, who’ve been demanding the audience of President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza, refused to vacate the party’s headquarters after spending the night there.
At the time, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe had confirmed that talks with the veterans were progressing well, despite a few disagreements, and a new meeting was scheduled for Thursday where Mabuza was expected to be in attendance.
However, according to the account given by Presidency Minister Gungubele, things did not exactly turn out how they’d hoped.
It’s unclear what set off the chaos inside the hotel but in Gungubele’s own words, the ministers found themselves in a situation which he considered untenable.
“We thought we were in a meeting whose intentions was to attend to the problems that affect military veterans. We could not agree on how the meeting should take place. We reached a point where I thought we were agreeing that we should adjourn. As we were leaving the meeting, proceeding to the doors, they closed the doors. It is at that point where we realised that we were held hostage,” Gungubele explained.
The Presidency Minister confirmed that security forces deployed by Police Minister Bheki Cele effectively commissioned a rescue mission to remove him, Minister Modise and Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla from the hostage situation.
“We want to thank Minister Bheki Cele and all other security forces, whatever branch that was involved for prompt and timeous intervention and successful in the manner it seems to have been,” Gungubele added.
Watch: Tensions erupt inside St Georges Hotel
From what we understand, the military veterans involved in holding ministers hostage have been arrested.
Here is footage from inside the meeting room that was captured in the midst of rising tensions between veterans and ministerial delegates:
Veterans seem to have valid grievances but this is no the way to GO. They must organise themselves and appoint representatives.— TK_Nala (@NalaThokozane) October 14, 2021
Thandi Modise and Mondli Gungubele are senior Cabinet Ministers and this anarchy behavior undermines the State.#MinistersHostage pic.twitter.com/jV7Lbc3UXp
ICYMI: MK Military Veteran spokesperson Lwazi Mzobe explains why they didn't allow Defence Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy and Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele to leave the St Georges Hotel.— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) October 15, 2021
Tune into #Newzroom405 for more details.
Special Forces landing to rescue Thandi Modise🔥🔥😱😱— JuliusDaHottest (@JuliusDaHotest) October 15, 2021
#MinistersHostage #Gqeberha #Phori #SpecialForces
Special Forces mkmva South Africans Military Veterans Ramaphosa Minister of Defence pic.twitter.com/mnCo2jm4Az