JOHANNESBURG - Hans Louw, a former Special Forces soldier and member of the Civil Co-operation Bureau, claims to have shot down Mozambican President Samora Machel’s aircraft nearly 20 years ago while on trial for murder.
On Tuesday, SABC’s Special Assignment carried a documentary in which Louw claimed to have been the first “black” Special Forces operator in the SADF and said he had shot down the aircraft using a SAM-7 missile.
But this week two former senior members of South Africa’s Special Forces rubbished Louw’s claims.
Lieutenant Colonel Sybie van der Spuy was commanding officer of 2 Reconnaissance Regiment and a long-serving Special Forces operator in the South African Army.
Van der Spuy told The Citizen that he knew Louw and had testified as a character witness when Louw was convicted of murder in 1988.
“Louw was a member of the then South West African Territorial Force and a member of their Special Forces,” he said.
Van der Spuy said that after SA withdrew from Namibia in 1989, Louw moved to SA. “He was charged and convicted of murder in a case that I can’t remember all the details of, but it involved drugs and illegal diamonds,” he said.
Van der Spuy said that during Louw’s trial he first claimed to have shot down Machel’s plane. He said that as a member of the then South West African Special Forces at the time of the air disaster, it would have been “impossible” for Louw to have been operating in SA.
Chris Greyling, chairman of the SA Special Forces League told The Citizen Louw’s claims were “technically impossible.”
“The accusations have been investigated by the Scorpions and no evidence was found linking Special Forces to Louw’s claims,” said Greyling.