Secretary of defence Masilela burns to death in horror accident

2008-08-25 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — January Masilela (53), the controversial secretary of Defence, died after a horrific car accident on Sunday morning.

The accident occurred shortly after 6 am on a freeway off-ramp near Bronkhorstspruit. Masilela apparently lost control of his speeding BMW X5, which soared over a stream, spun, landed in the road and burst into flames. Masilela managed to get out, but burned to death next to the vehicle, an eyewitness told police.

Since his appointment in 1999, Masilela’s term as Defence secretary has been beleaguered by controversy.

He was regularly at loggerheads with senior subordinates and was involved in various lawsuits against the military over irregularities in suppliers’ contracts.

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