On 14 October, 2021 members of the Liberation Struggle War Veterans allegedly held some ministers hostage because their grievances were not heard. Briefly News had a conversation with Thanduxolo Dyodo, MKMVA regional secretary in Johannesburg who explains what led to the events at St George Hotel.
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JOHANNESBURG - In the past few weeks, the Liberation Struggle War Veterans dominated the news after they held ministers hostage when a meeting they were in reached a deadlock.
56 of the military veterans that were gathered at the St George's Hotel in Tshwane were arrested and charged with the kidnapping of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise, her deputy, Thabang Makwetla and the Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.
The LSWV is an organisation that represents three military groups that fought during Apartheid, namely Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA)of the African National Congress, Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army and Azapo’s Azanian National Liberation Army (Azanla).
Before heading to the St George's hotel to meet with the ministers, the military veterans camped at Luthuli House and demanded to meet with the President of the African National Congress to lay down their grievances.
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Briefly News had a conversation with Thanduxolo Dyodo, MKMVA regional secretary in Johannesburg who explained what the grievances of the military veterans are and what led to the events at St George's Hotel on 14 October.
How the Liberation Struggle War Veterans organisation was formed
Dyodo says it is important to understand how the LSWV was formed. He says at the conclusion of the liberation struggle, military veterans from different political organisations were regarded as part of the South African National Military Veterans which was a structure within the Department of Military Veterans.
The structure that was created by the South African government began to frustrate some of the military veterans because they felt that processes were moving slowly. This lead them to band together and form an association for themselves called the Liberation Struggle War Veterans.
Inital protest to Luthuli house may have been misguided
Dyodo says the protest at Luthuli House might have been misguided because the ANC had promised to hold a conference for MKVMA members before the organisation's 16th celebration in December 2021.
Dyodo explains that there was a call that stated that if the ANC fails to host a conference for MKVMA members then there would be a march to Luthuli House. However, some members went to Luthuli House with the intention of demanding benefits.
He explains that only MK veterans were supposed to march to Luthuli House for their grievances with the ANC and not LSWV members as a whole.
A meeting with the ministers was put on the table because the grievances that were presented at Luthuli House were no longer about the MK conference but about benefits.
Struggle military veterans are still suffering
Dyodo says the majority of military veterans who fought in the struggle have not received any benefits. He explains that some of them even have to come together to fundraise to bury their fellow comrades.
He also says there many of the military veterans who are lack decent housing and are living in shacks.
Dyodo explains that the only military veterans who are receiving benefits are former members of the South African Defence Force and not liberation military veterans.
"People who fought for this country and liberation and who sacrificed are the ones who are suffering," says Dyodo.
Working towards getting LSWV released from prison
Dyodo says LSWV members are currently holding meetings to get their fellow comrades who have been arrested out.
He says that the actions that took place at St George's Hotel show that political organisations and the government have failed military veterans.
Military veteran says ministers provoked them, set up a trap that led to arrest
Briefly News previously reported that Members of the Liberation Struggle War Veterans believe that the meeting where they held ministers and a deputy forcefully against their will was a trap set up for them.
One of the people who escaped being arrested Ntando Shezi claims the ministers have had an agenda to arrest them since they began occupying Luthuli House, the head office of the African National Congress, according to The Witness.
Shezi says the military veterans were given no choice when the meeting between the ministers and them did not have desired results, which led the vets to close off exits and subsequently stopping the ministers from leaving.
Shezi says the ministers provoked the military vets and were stand-offish throughout the meeting. He stated that the ministers were successful in their quest because veterans were arrested at the end of the night.
Source: Briefly News