President Jacob Zuma Unveils Matola Monument and Interpretative Centre in Mozambique, 11 Sept [press release] (allAfrica.com)

President Jacob Zuma will on Friday, 11 September 2015, undertake a working visit to Maputo, in the Republic of Mozambique, to unveil the Matola Monument and Interpretative Centre in remembrance of members of Umkhonto We Sizwe who were killed during the infamous Matola raid by apartheid defence force in 1981.

The unveiling of the memorial aims to honour the fallen heroes of the Matola raid, as part of the Heritage Month programme, and also to pay homage to the sacrifices and contributions made by the Mozambicans towards a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

During the unveiling ceremony President Zuma and his counterpart, His Excellency President Filipe Nyusi of the Republic of Mozambique will lay the wreath at the grave site in Llhanguene Cemetery in memory of those struggle heroes who were executed during the raid. The two Heads of State will also interact with families of the victims as well as survivors of the ill-famed raid.

The Monument and the Centre also form part government’s effort to redress the historical imbalances in heritage sites, and to promote social cohesion and nation building. They also form part of the Liberation Heritage Route which preserves South Africa’s liberation legacy.

The route recognises the people, communities, events and places which had a significant impact on our struggle for liberation and also stimulate much needed economic development and job creation South Africa and its neighbouring countries.

In 31 January 1981, the South African Defence Force of the then apartheid government raided the African National Congress safe houses in Matola, a suburb in the outskirts of Maputo, and instantly killed thirteen members of Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK) and one Mozambican national. These safe houses served as transit points for MK cadres.

The raid constituted part of the apartheid destabilisation campaign against countries and people who supported the liberation struggle in neighbouring countries. Similar raids and assassinations were also conducted in Zimbabwe, Angola, Swaziland, Zambia, Lesotho and France among others.

In 1982, on the first commemoration event of the Matola raid, the late Mozambican President Samora Machel called for this day to be declared as the day of friendship between the two neighbouring countries.

South Africa and Mozambique share strong historical and fraternal ties dating back to the time of the fight against colonialism and apartheid.

To date the two countries share strong economic ties and have formed strong historic and strategic bilateral relations in the many areas of cooperation over the last two decades. Key in this regard, was the decision in 2011 to elevate our structured bilateral mechanism to an annual Bi-National Commission.

During his State Visit to Mozambique in May 2015, President Zuma reiterated that the depth and extent of cooperation between the two countries was amplified by the existence of over sixty (60) bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding covering a wide range of sectors including energy, transport, trade and investment, agriculture, environment, water, defence and security, immigration, science and technology, labour, communication, tourism, arts and culture, sport, to mention but a few.

President Zuma will be accompanied by families of the victims, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa and the Minister of Public Works, Mr Thulas Nxesi, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the Deputy Minister responsible for Military Veterans Mr Kebby Maphatsoe.

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