'So our defence minister is defenceless?' - Mzansi shooketh by minister 'hostage' drama
South Africans have flooded social media with reaction to defence minister Thandi Modise and two other government officials being held “hostage” on Thursday night.
Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele were prevented from leaving a meeting with disgruntled military veterans, forcing police and security forces to intervene.
The veterans barricaded the doors with chairs and refused to allow the three officials to leave.
Gungubele said the meeting broke down when consensus couldn't be reached, and a decision was taken to adjourn.
“As we were leaving the meeting, proceeding to the doors, they [the military veterans] closed the doors. It is at that point we realised we were held hostage. It is a situation which was averted by the security forces, very effectively and successfully,” he said.
SAPS spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo confirmed that police “penetrated the room where the hostages were being held”, and that no shots were fired.
“At approximately 7:15pm police received a report of a possible hostage situation in which two cabinet ministers and a deputy minister were allegedly taken hostage. After attempts to negotiate with the hostage takers to release the hostages had failed, police resorted to a tactical approach and successfully rescued the hostages. There were no shots fired during the rescue.”
Fifty-six people have been arrested and will likely face charges of kidnapping.
South Africans were shocked and took to social media to react to the reports. Many likened it to a Hollywood movie, while others questioning where the ministers' costly security staff were.