Unsavoury events in Centurion last week saw over 50 military veterans arrested with two court appearances so far at a central Pretoria correctional facility, resulting in bail and remands in custody for some alleged hostage takers.
The court appearances at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility were apparently to deter and prevent street protests in the Pretoria CBD, where the Magistrates’ Courts are.
A statement from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, better known as the Hawks, indicated 13 of 52 suspects are first offenders with verifiable addresses. This saw them granted bail of R500 each ahead of a third court appearance, set down for 1 February next year in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.
Their ages range from 47 to 61 with one woman among them.
Another 27 suspects, reportedly with either previous or outstanding convictions on minor offences, were also granted bail in the same amount as their co-accused and told to be in court next February.
The remaining 11 accused (no ages given) have relevant previous convictions on serious offences including murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and rape. They were remanded in custody and will appear again this Friday (22 October) in court at the correctional facility.
All suspects were taken into custody last Thursday at St George’s Hotel in Irene where they reportedly held Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele against their will. This after a scheduled meeting to discuss veterans’ grievances apparently went off the rails.