Hawks probing Samora Machel crash

2012-12-12 20:25

Johannesburg - South African investigators have launched an investigation into the plane crash that killed neighbouring Mozambique's Marxist president Samora Machel 26 years ago, police said Wednesday.

"I do confirm the Hawks are investigating circumstances surrounding the crash," said Paul Ramaloko, spokesman for South Africa's specialised investigative police, which heads the probe.

During the Cold War, Machel's Russian Tupolev airplane crashed into the Lebombo mountains just a few kilometres from the border between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland on the night of 19 October 1986.

An inquiry led by South Africa's fervently anti-communist government blamed the Russian crew for the accident which killed 35 of the 44 aboard, including government ministers and academics.

But some believe a decoy radio signal had deceived the pilot into flying lower than was safe.

At the time there was friction between apartheid South Africa and its socialist neighbour, and South Africa secretly funded a civil war to undermine the Frelimo government.

Machel's widow Graça, who is currently married to Nelson Mandela, has called repeatedly for a proper investigation.

Despite commitments from then-president Nelson Mandela and his successor Thabo Mbeki, recommendations to reopen the investigation into the crash were never carried out.

After the end of white minority rule South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission held a closed session into the crash in 1994.

Last week crime scene experts took "aerial photos and GPS readings" at a military zone in the eastern Mpumalanga province which sent aerial information to military bases in the region, South African daily The Times reported Wednesday.

Shocked by the death of their liberation hero and first president since 1975 independence from Portugal, the case looms large on Mozambique's national psyche.

"You reopen the wounds as you go through the details how the day started, how you were informed [of the crash], because there is no closure," Machel's widow Graça told AFP in 2011.

She married Mandela in 1998.

  • motsarami - 2012-12-12 20:35

    Why not commit the resources to investigating Zuma,the arms deal,nkandlagate and all the massive corruption taking place daily nd crippling our country??Under the illiterates regime,,things FELL apart!!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-12-12 20:47

      Smoke and mirrors.... Let's investigate lightening, Samora and the Easter Bunny. Just don't look at Zipper...

      kalabafazi - 2012-12-12 20:48

      Or even the case of a recently crashed airforce Dekota.

      francois.snyman.98 - 2012-12-12 20:59

      Cheezus, the stuff they think up to waste tax money on is becoming unbelievable!

      wim.kotze.9 - 2012-12-12 21:26

      Graca Machel should be investigated for her silence as Minister for Youth Affairs in the Machel regime when children were press ganged to serve as soldiers against Renamo.

      shaun.miekle - 2012-12-12 21:58

      Stupid c@@ts

  • Raymon - 2012-12-12 20:37

    Wow.. ANC smoke and mirrors again.... Why not rather tackle the current corruption problems? This is again a cheap shot aimed at stoking the fires of racial divide to score political points.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-12-13 06:09

      Just the ANC putting out a false beacon to hide their own better than the Nats or the rest of the idiots in Africa!

  • thando.ramncwana - 2012-12-12 20:38


  • Donkervlie - 2012-12-12 20:40

    A closer look at the role of the Maputo control tower needs to be made that night It is strange that the aircraft had already reoprted to Maputo of their approach who made the aircraft turn in the wrong direction? What was maputos instruction and why was their equipment suddenly broken.

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-12-13 09:56

      Its a distraction ...Common stunt for governments to pull when they need to hide something. Its all in the timing .

  • trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-12-12 21:07 telling me... the plane still there with the bodies?????

      fourhundredkg.bobbejaan - 2012-12-12 23:04

      Maybe they think they will find some-more-a Machel!

      graeme.stockwell - 2012-12-13 06:25

      they put the pieces back and built a memorial after the first investigation. Interesting place to visit.

  • ian.robertreid - 2012-12-12 21:11

    R we still hounding this matter 28 years later ~lets get 2the bottom of it already ~once and 4all?

  • phaldiemeyer - 2012-12-12 21:15

    Omg...let it go already, this is what's wrong with this country...take too much time looking back at the past...that we can't live in the present and then unable to plan properly for the future!!

  • debduplessis - 2012-12-12 21:30

    Why does this investigation always rear its ugly head at time of ANC party elections??? why keep flogging the same old thing - Madiba & Graca are happy together for last 25 or so years!

      Jabulani - 2012-12-12 22:01

      It is not surprising that those whose racist'apartheid leaders who killed our heroe are asgainst the probe,truth must out!

      sheik.mohammad.378 - 2012-12-12 22:53

      Jabulani....... the man was a puppet.

  • luviwe.jay - 2012-12-12 21:30

    My take is that they want to divet attention away from nkandla and corruption. Before Polokwane the SACP through blade were asking for Hani inquest, now they have got so much influence and power after that conference, that request had since gone cold and I wonder why? Anyway I know the answer.

  • Vagn Nielsen - 2012-12-12 21:40


  • Sige Gorabeb - 2012-12-12 21:42

    The long arm of the LAW. Thou shall not escape.

  • salee.sithwell - 2012-12-12 21:56

    This is a waste of money. Why doesn't Mozambique investigate this?

  • marc.schnehage - 2012-12-12 21:56

    Mr. Justice Margo, one of our most notable and thorough Supreme Court judges, chaired the Commission. He was no NP judge. It seems that they will only be satisfied if it is ruled that the NP government killed that terrorist, even if the findings are fabricsted!

      salee.sithwell - 2012-12-12 22:30

      Why are you pre-empting the finding, by saying "even if the findings are fabricated". Is this the card that you plan to pull in case it is found that the NP did kill Machel? It won't work - that card. A commission may have powers of compelling witnesses to testify etc, but it is neither an investigative body nor a court of law. It is just a commission. It does not make proper or binding findings, but recommendations. So, your argument that the commission was chaired by Fart-go does not mean much. Having said that, our money could be better spent elsewhere.

      marc.schnehage - 2012-12-13 00:12

      Your argument is non-sensicle. And your use of the word Fart go proves your intellectual inability to debate the matter!

  • parrot.mashau - 2012-12-12 21:57

    Hawks mzt problm it

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-12-13 04:55

      you "mzt" go to bed earlier

  • grant.montgomery.5074 - 2012-12-12 21:58

    After 28 years,what evidence will still be intact? A total waste of time and money. I doubt the Maputo tower has the tape of the communications with the pilot. The tape from the aircraft recorded the pilot constantly ordering more drinks. Think about it : if South Africa was able to dupe a Soviet pilot then their inteligence and technical expertise would have been superior to the Americans.

  • grant.montgomery.5074 - 2012-12-12 22:04

    Is this whole exercise not just a decoy to take peoples minds off the crashed dekota? One week on and we still don't know the names or occupations of those on board or what was the purpose of the flight.

  • Mbuso Siera - 2012-12-12 22:07

    ......anyway ppl would like to know what really happened...into the cause of the crash..... its part of our untold history of the past.......though personally we have brothers nd relative we don't even know what happened to them we cant even identify their graves.....

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-12-12 22:29

      Your relatives (with respect)were not on that plane. Try your BS somewhere else.

      sheik.mohammad.378 - 2012-12-12 22:58

      Wait until 2nd January and there will more children who don't know where their family are after a day on the beach.

      mbuso.siera - 2012-12-13 00:15

      Sad the Apartheid regime caused all this.....

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-12-13 05:01

      ..........same can be said about the anc and their bombing campaigns of innocent women and children or what really happened in the notorious Quattro camp

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-12-13 09:59

      Need to investigate what happened in Quattro

  • magogodale.mulalo1 - 2012-12-12 22:26

    Where we're da hawsk by da time Somara die.............y dy dnt let SAPS 2 do it

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-12-12 22:42

      Because it is all propaganda. Get the news to go out that the Hawks are involved. It immediately creates the popular impression that something is smelly. All part of the game of creating perceptions.

  • Azwihangwisi - 2012-12-12 22:33

    stop wasting money!

  • eliphus.lamola - 2012-12-12 22:50

    I pay tax for this kinda sh**

  • hyrene.esterhuizen - 2012-12-13 00:28

    WTF the hawks can't even investigate a month old case,how the heck would they investigate a case that's 28 yrs old what a waste of resources and funds,that could have been used to build proper houses,even much better provide the needy with food hampers,we are surrounded by a bunch of idiots that's flying this country into the ground.

  • derek.vandermerwe.71 - 2012-12-13 03:24

    I suppose the hard working Mozambican tax payers are going to pay for this? It was their president right?

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