Pretoria - There was drama at the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Thursday afternoon when a group of military veterans kept members of the public and the legal fraternity hostage for about 30 minutes.
They were upset that an urgent application concerning PAC stalwart Kenny Motsamai did not go ahead.
Members of the police task team had to be called in to defuse the situation as the military veterans, dressed in red T-shirts, blocked the entrance to and exit from the court.
Another group also guarded the exit to the parkade where judges parked, to prevent anyone from leaving. They demanded answers as to why the urgent application did not go ahead.
The Struggle hero was release on parole in January last year after serving 27 years in jail for killing a white traffic officer in Rustenburg.
Motsamai is, however, back behind bars after his parole was revoked in February this year. He was arrested at his home and taken back to the Boksburg Correctional centre.
It is not clear why his parole was revoked, but the military veterans launched an urgent application this week against Justice and Correctional Minister Michael Masutha, in which they demanded Motsamai’s release.
Their lawyer, Andries Nkome, said the case was on the urgent roll for Thursday. But as the lawyers were in court on Wednesday for another case in the urgent court, this case was called.
Judge Joseph Raulinga, however, removed the case from the roll as it was not ready to proceed. No date was set for when the case was due to be placed on the urgent roll again.
Scores of military veterans meanwhile arrived at court on Thursday in support of the application.
They were extremely upset when they were told that the matter was simply removed from the roll. It further infuriated them that no date was set for when the case would serve before the court again.
Patric Maroka, one of the veterans, told the Pretoria News that military veterans from all nine provinces came to court, for nothing.
“We are not happy at all. This means that this case is not treated as urgent. They cannot simply remove the case without informing us. We need clarity. Why do they not talk to us?”
The police tried to negotiate with the veterans, who eventually allowed the people inside court leave.
Police negotiators and senior security officers met with veterans in court, to try and defuse the situation. It was eventually agreed that the lawyers would meet on Friday to obtain an urgent date for the matter to be placed back on the roll.
Several court personnel were, meanwhile, agitated that they weren’t allowed to leave the building for some time. They were all in the dark as to what was happening, but some said “it was a storm in a teacup”.
Others questioned how the veterans could take the law into their own hands.