Monday, October 6, 2008

Special Assignment: 'The Death of Samora Machel'

This week on Special Assignment (SABC3, Tuesday @ 21h30) there looks to be a promising investigative feature on the 'Death of Samora Machel'. Machel was the leader of the liberation group, the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and the first president of Mozambique following the successful overthrow of Portuguese colonialism in 1975. Machel's plane, theTupolev Tu-134, crashed just inside the South African border under suspicious circumstances in October 19, 1986. The case has remained unsolved ever since.

The press release indicates that the principal interviewee will be Hans Louw, a former Special Forces and CCB operative for the apartheid government. Fresh out of jail, Louw will be spilling the beans on the alleged complicity of the SA government in the death of a neighbouring head of state.

The write-up:

Louw, the first black Special Forces member, was released on parole from a Pretoria prison last month after a 28 year sentence for an unrelated murder.

He claims to have been part of a plot to bring the presidential plane down on the 19 October 1986.

Samora Machel died when his plane crashed under mysterious circumstances in the Lebombo mountains with 33 others. It was a time of heightened political tensions in the region and many believe that the crash was no accident. A South African led commission of enquiry later found that the crash was due to pilot error while a Soviet team found that a decoy beacon had caused the plane to stray off course.

Check out this comprehensive profile of Samora Machel's life and his role in shaping modern Mozambique on SA History Online.

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