Durban – The 2,500 members of the Liberation Struggle War Veterans (LSWV) are pressing ahead with their demand that the South African government should compensate each of them with R4.2 million for their gallant fight that brought down the apartheid government.
The uncompromising stance was communicated in a statement on Tuesday after 53 of their members were acquitted for allegedly kidnapping three ministers during a heated meeting in Pretoria in October last year.
The kidnapped ministers are Thandi Modise of defence, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Mondli Gungubele, a minister in the presidency.
The kidnapping incident happened when the veterans could not allow the three to leave after it was claimed that there was a consensus document that had a roadmap about the R4.2 million compensation and other issues. The three said there was no such, angering the veterans who felt that they were being taken for a ride over the matter.
On Tuesday the case returned to the Pretoria regional court and the 52 remaining veterans (one of them has since died) walked out victorious after the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) declined to prosecute.
The spokesperson of the NPA in the Pretoria region, Lumka Mahanjana confirmed that the charges against the veterans were withdrawn.
Now the liberation veterans want the government to compensate them and they are ready to litigate in order to force the government’s hand on the matter.
“Our clients are overjoyed with the outcome of this matter, as well as justice prevailing, and are now looking forward to the delayed undertakings of compensation as promised to them back in the late 1990’s ... They have always maintained that the charges preferred against them were trumped up more so in the light of the fact that the state had earlier threatened that it would charge our clients with treason and terrorism.
“Our clients have reiterated their instruction to us to proceed with a class action to compel the government to compensate them for reparations, pensions, special pensions, housing, educational and other benefits due to them for having put their lives on the line and physically fought apartheid and ushered in democracy twenty-eight years ago.
“It cannot be that people who physically fought for the democracy we enjoy today are destitute without housing, employment, and mere basics when it is known that true freedom is economic,” Phoosa Loot Inc Attorneys said on behalf of the struggle veterans.