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Reopen probe into Machel death - Pik

By unknown | Oct 07, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mpikeleni Duma

Mpikeleni Duma

Pik Botha, the former apartheid-era minister of foreign affairs, has called for the reopening of a judicial investigation into the plane crash that killed former Mozambican president Samora Machel in 1986.

Botha told an SABC3 Special Assignment, which will be flighted tonight at 9.30pm: "A judicial commission of inquiry will be able to lay this matter to rest. It will also help in the process of healing between South Africa and Mozambique.

"There are progressive judges that could chair the commission," Botha said.

Andre Thomashausen, a co-founder of Mozambique's Renamo, a former rebel movement, also supports Botha's call. This is in view of the new eyewitness account from Hans Louw, a former Civil Cooperation Bureau operative who confessed his role in Machel's assassination l.

Richmond Mundingi, another former apartheid military intelligence operative, has also confessed his role in the plane crash, claiming it was shot down with a surface-to-air missile.

The confessions by both Louw and Mundingi are with the SAPS's special investigative unit and the director of public prosecutions .

Thomashausen says he is in possession of de-classified Russian top secret documents from the meeting of the politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of October 22 1986, in which it is noted that "the last report from our pilot was: 'We have been shot down'."

The Russians believe that interference with navigation of the plane occurred.

The civil aviation of Russia believes the plane was lured off course by a false beacon.

"It will be interesting to investigate the role of then super powers like the US, Britain and Russia in the plane crash, as they were involved in a cold war and Mozambique and Machel were proxies of this war," said Thomashausen.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's investigative unit, also says a judicial investigation should be undertaken to clear the mystery of Machel's death.

Ntsebeza says it puzzles him why Frelimo, Mozambique's ruling party, did not conduct an inquiry into Machel's death.

The apartheid government appointed judge Cecil Margo to probe the crash of the Tupolev-134 carrying Machel and 33 others in Mbuzini in Mpumalanga.

The commission ruled that pilot error was to blame.


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