Monument to commemorate Matola Raid in Moz

Monday, February 16, 2009

Matola - Government is to build a cenotaph to honour the memory of the South African and Portuguese heroes and heroines who were murdered in Matola, Mozambique, 28 years ago under the apartheid regime.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the monument would serve as a constant reminder of the bonds of friendship between the people of Mozambique and South Africa.

The minister announced this during an event to mark the anniversary of the so-called Matola Raid.

During the height of apartheid, security forces carried out a raid on ANC houses in Matola, Mozambique, where 16 South Africans and one Portuguese national were killed.

"Most of the comrades had come to Maputo for consultations with the underground leadership of the African National Congress. Virtually the entire machinery had been wiped out.

"The massacre itself was more than just 13 comrades being killed, it was an attack on a sovereign state, a violation of a sister country and its people. The pain we felt was too difficult to describe."

The deceased included Mduduzi Guma, Lancelot Hadebe, Mandla Daka, Daniel Molokisi, Steven Ngcobo, Vusumzi Ngwema, Thabang Bookolane, Krishna Rabilal, Themba Dimba, William Khanyile, Motso Mokgabudi, Collin Khumalo, Levinson Mankankaza and Albert Mahutso among others.

"It is indeed as a consequence of these great sacrifices of our people that have enabled us to build state-to-state, people- to-people relations based on peace, freedom, dignity, justice and other shared values," she said.

Those bonds of friendship, she continued were indeed further sealed in blood when President Machel met his tragic and sudden death on South African soil in Mbuzini in 1986 when his plane crashed in what many still believe was the work of apartheid agents.

"The blood he shed on our soil is and will forever nourish the consolidation of ties of friendship between our two peoples," said the minister.

Government has approved a number of legacy projects, including the Matola Raid Project, in an attempt to address the historical imbalances in the heritage sector and to promote social cohesion and nation-building.

South Africa and Mozambique have entered into more than 20 agreements, protocols and Memoranda of Understanding on various issues of interest between the two countries.

On the economic front, Mozambique remains South Africa's second largest export market in Southern Africa. Total exports by South Africa to Mozambique amounted to over R6.2 billion in 2006.

Imports from Mozambique were valued at close to R318 590 million for the same year.

Other major investments of South African origin in Mozambique is the Sasol Gas Pipeline Project worth $1.4 billion, SABMiller's $50 million investment in beer factories in Maputo and Beira, and a $63 million investment by Illovo Sugar in Maragra sugar mill.