Today in History

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Events of this day in the South African history/Twitter

2005     The NPA does not pursue charges against Wouter Basson, former chemical weapons expert of the SADF

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced that it would not start a fresh prosecution of Dr Wouter Basson, former chemical weapons expert of the South African Defence Force (SADF), on the charges originally quashed by the Pretoria High Court. Makhosini Nkosi, NPA spokesperson, said that their decision was based on the final ruling made by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court upheld the ruling of the Pretoria High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal to deny the state leave to appeal against the ruling. Basson had been prosecuted and acquitted in the Pretoria High Court on several charges, including conspiracy to assassinate members of liberation movements, misappropriation of State funds and dealing in drugs. He had refused to apply for amnesty to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, maintaining that he did not need amnesty, since he was innocent.

Wouter Basson/sahistory.org
Wouter Basson/sahistory.org

1990       NP Natal Congress agrees to multiracial membership

With the wind of change powerfully blowing in South Africa, the National Party (NP) under the leadership of young but politically experienced F.W de Klerk, called for the opening of its membership to all races in the country. The view proved to be generally held when it received a unanimous thumbs-up at the party’s provincial congress held in Durban, Natal. However, the move exhibited some elements of opportunism as the political negotiations in the country at the time were swinging in favour of the establishment of a democratic system, which implied that people of all races, for the first time, would be allowed to vote for the government. After the first democratic elections, which were held in 1994, the party formed part of the Government of National Unity (GNU) with its leader, former President F.W. de Klerk, becoming the second deputy president of the country.

National Party (NP) logo
National Party (NP) logo

1986        Samora Machel, president of Mozambique, dies in a plane crash

On 19 October 1986, the Mozambique President, Samora Machel and thirty-three other passengers, died when their Tupolev 134 plane crashed into the Lebombo Mountains, South Africa, after allegedly following a false beacon. Machel was a prominent leader of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and he led the Mozambican people in their fight for independence from Portugal. In 1975 they were victorious and he was elected as Mozambique’s first president. At the time of his death, Machel had been in power for 11 years. On the day of the crash he was returning from an African leaders’ summit in Zambia. His death sent shockwaves throughout Southern Africa and the entire world. The crash remains a mystery; with some blaming it on bad weather and others believing that the South African authorities were to blame. A day before Machel’s death, Carlos Cardosa, Director of the Mozambican News Agency, received an anonymous message informing him that Machel had died.

Samora Machela/sahistory.org
Samora Machela/sahistory.org

Source: sahistory.org

Compiled By: REFILWE GAESWE