Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
STATEMENT BY DUMISA NTSEBEZA, INVESTIGATIVE HEAD OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
The cause of the death of Mozambican President Samora Machel and 33 others in October 1986 will be the subject of a closed investigative inquiry by the TRC's investigative unit on June 4.
The Tupolev plane in which Machel was travelling from Malawi to Mozambique crashed on South African territory during the night. A board of inquiry under Judge Cecil Margo concluded in 1987 that the plane crash was an accident due to pilot error.
However, a delegation of Russian experts, who helped with the investigation, concluded that the plane crashed into the mountains near Mbuzini on the border with Mozambique due to a decoy signal stronger than that at Maputo airport. They were allowed to be part of the investigation in terms of international aviation legislation, as the state of manufacture of the plane was the former Soviet Union.
The TRC has been presented with new evidence linking the crash with activities of the former South African Defence Force (SADF).
Those invited to give evidence and/or answer questions relating to the crash, include a former SADF Military Intelligence Operative and two other former SADF members. Their names, as well as that of a former Mozambican official invited to give evidence, are withheld due to current fears for their safety.
The in camera inquiry will be held at the TRC's head office in Cape Town.