Bail hearing of military veterans accused of holding ministers hostage to continue on Tuesday
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Johannesburg - Military veterans arrested last Thursday for allegedly holding two Cabinet ministers and a deputy hostage applied for bail on Monday.
Police arrested the 53 men and women for kidnapping after they locked the door to the facility in which Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise and her Presidency counterpart Mondli Gungubele were meeting the veterans.
Modise’s deputy Thabang Makwetla was also among the hostages along with two other officials at the St. George Hotel in Centurion, Tshwane.
Dali Mpofu, SC, representing the military veterans, told the magistrate at the Kgoshi Mampuru prison that the police bungled the arrest of the veterans and even briefly detained hotel staff.
He said the more the prosecution stated its case, the worse it got.
”The state says one of the members (military veterans) closed the door, but they arrested 52 other people. The other 52 people are here. They were arrested for being there (St. George Hotel),” Mpofu explained.
According to Mpofu, the accused have been in custody for a period that has breached the 12-hour period to be processed after being arrested tenfold.
Their attorneys, led by Andries Nkome, only had access to them on Sunday.
”You cannot take someone and lock them up. If there is any kidnapping, it’s the kidnapping of the people here (the accused),” he said.
Mpofu said human beings could not be locked up for no cause.
”The interest of justice is that all of us must be free,” he said, adding that the group’s arrest amounted to unlawful deprivation of freedom.
”There is nothing that has been given to your worship to justify the arrest. The state should do 100 times more than it is doing here,” Mpofu told the court.
The absence of charges meant that the state was relying on speculation for its preliminary charges, according to Mpofu.
”You cannot keep people in custody for an undefined period,” he said.
Mpofu wanted the court to dismiss the state’s application to postpone the matter.
The hearing will continue on Tuesday after the magistrate declined the prosecution’s application to have the matter postponed for seven days.