Military museum acts against SANDF raid

The South African National Museum of Military History is making a civil claim against the South African National Defence Force over a raid on the museum in 2005.

Museum director Major John Keene confirmed on Thursday that there was a claim underway, but would not divulge for how much or any other details.

"I don't think this matter is appropriate for public consumption," he said.

According to a report in Beeld, the claim could cost the defence force up to R3-million for unlawful arrest, detention without medical care and pain and suffering.

SANDF spokesperson Colonel Petrus Motlhabane could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

In January 2005 Keene and two curators, Susanne Blendulf and Richard Henry, were arrested after military intelligence and police raided the museum in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. This after receiving information that "war-capable weapons and vehicles" were being stored on the premises.

"Police and the SANDF have accused us of stockpiling weapons as if we were preparing for a war," the museum's acting director Sandi Mackenzie said at the time.

Three armoured cars and another military vehicle were confiscated.

When the arrests took place, Keene was at the Pretoria Eye Hospital undergoing surgery to his retina.

"Upon hearing of the drama at the museum, he went there and was also arrested. After his arrest, he was taken to the hospital under armed guard," said Mackenzie.

The three were later released without charge. - Sapa

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