South Africa
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Thandi Modise says hostage takers won't get a free pass

JOHANNESBURG - Defence minister Thandi Modise said the 56 people arrested for holding her hostage won’t get a free pass because they’re military veterans.

The military veterans were arrested after holding Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele hostage following a meeting at the St George’s Hotel in Irene.

Modise and Gungubele briefed the media about the incident on Friday.

The Defence minister said the hostage incident was not an embarrassment but rather demonstrated that South Africa is a not security state and ministers trust South African enough to meet with them.

She said they’ll be more careful next time to avoid a similar situation.

While the veterans’ grievances were legitimate, Modise said she’s not aware of any plans to release them, and they won’t get any special treatment.

"We do not want to set a precedent that I can commit any violation and the law will be put aside because it is me, and I’m a military vet, legitimate as my grievances might be".

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the government has been working on a number of initiatives to improve the lives of veterans.

"A lot has been put in place with clear timelines on what is being done and still to be one".

The 56 arrested will appear in court on Monday.

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