South Africa and Mozambique on Tuesday commemorated the 35th anniversary of the death of former Mozambican president Samora Machel at Mbuzini in Mpumalanga province while returning from a Frontline States Summit in Zambia in 1986.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi attended the event to commemorate the incident in which Machel and his delegation died when their plane crashed into the Lebombo mountains in October 1986.
The event was also attended by the Machel family and government officials from both South Africa and Mozambique.
The plane crash was allegedly caused by the apartheid government because of Machel’s staunch support for liberation movements in South Africa, observers said at the time.
The anniversary is an opportunity to remember, honour and “express appreciation to those who gave their lives to guarantee that Southern African countries attained their freedom and democracy,” according to a Ministry or Sports, Arts and Culture statement.
“President Samora Machel's regime was instrumental in the independence of South Africa and several other Southern African Development Community countries,” the statement said.
It added: “Those who assisted in the liberation of this country wholeheartedly embraced South African liberation warriors fighting to destroy the apartheid regime.”