Zuma thanks Mozambican people

2011-10-17 13:17

President Jacob Zuma thanked the Mozambican people today for helping to dismantle apartheid.

He told an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of Mozambique’s Samora Machel: “He used his own freedom and country’s independence to assist those who were under the yoke of slavery, colonialism and apartheid.”

Machel did this at great cost to his life and his country’s prosperity, Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery at Mbuzini, Mpumalanga.

“We register yet again, our sincere gratitude to the Mozambican people for the solidarity and friendship that was extended to us during our struggle for freedom.”

Machel and 33 others, ministers and Mozambique government officials among them, were killed when their plane crashed in the Lebombo mountains in Mbuzini.

The cause of the plane crash on October 20 1986 has never been fully resolved with explanations veering between poor weather conditions and sabotage by apartheid-era security forces.

Zuma said the ANC decided then that the blood of the crash victims would not flow in vain.

“That blood that watered the tree of freedom, now binds the two peoples together in friendship and comradeship.”

Zuma said his predecessors, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, consistently visited the site to remember the contribution Mozambicans made to South Africa’s freedom.

Machel’s widow, Graça, went on to marry Mandela.

The South African government built the Mbuzini memorial and museum.

Zuma recalled cross-border raids and attacks launched on neighbouring countries by the apartheid government.

Besides Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Angola were main targets and people there were abducted and killed for fighting for their freedom, he said.

Mozambique was specifically targeted for brutal raids such as the Matola Raid and an air raid in a suburb adjacent to Matola.

Zuma said these raids were a painful reminder of the suffering of the people of South Africa and Mozambique.

Both countries were finally experiencing peace and stability, and their people should now reap the dividends of peace and liberation, he said.

“None of us would ever want to go back to a period of conflict and war.”

Zuma will be present when Mozambique holds a commemoration of the crash this Wednesday.

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