A group of protesters forced their way into Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Pretoria offices on Monday and allegedly held some staff hostage, her spokesperson said.
About 20 Black First, Land First (BLF) movement members demanded an audience with Madonsela and jumped over the desk at reception to gain entry to the rest of the building.
“The public protector is not impressed with the BLF’s attention-seeking stunts. She is dismayed by the group’s invasion of the office, traumatising staff,” her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said.
Some allegedly tried to force three staff members to call Madonsela to come to the office. She was attending a Mandela Day event in Johannesburg at the time.
Police were called and apprehended the BLF group.
Segalwe said no property appeared to have been damaged. They however allegedly poured petrol onto a carpet on the second floor.
“This was not far from the office in which the hostage situation occurred.”
The BLF were apparently unhappy that an investigation into the government was taking too long. It was intended to determine if the government acted correctly when it allegedly commissioned an investigation by a British spy in the mid- to late 1990s.
The spy investigated the apartheid government’s alleged siphoning of public funds.
The protector was determining whether the government acted properly after failing to implement the recommendations of the investigation.
“The British spy report says the funds were recoverable. Our investigation is still ongoing,” Segalwe said.
According to a Twitter account apparently belonging to BLF’s Andile Mngxitama, 26 members were arrested for carrying out their 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela event at the Public Protector’s office.
“Peaceful action at public protector for #67MinutesForMadiba. five years later pp [public protector] has done nothing abt [sic] R26billion stolen by whites,” the account says.
“BLF members charged with public violence and trespassing. There was no violence and how do we trespasses at a public building?”
“BLF peaceful action at public protector for #67MinutesForMadiba. five years later pp has done nothing abt R26billion stolen by whites.”