Former Bophuthatswana leader Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope, 94, has died and will be remembered for infrastructure development during his reign of the former homeland, the United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) said.
“He will be remembered for the legacy he left, we shall always remember the things he did, during his rule people could not go for days without water despite the limited resources he had compared to the current government,” party leader Sipho Mfundisi said on Friday.
“It is a great loss, he taught us a lot, he was a servant of the people. His work benefited the people including people in southern African region. We can see his work, he set standards that cannot be matched.”
Mfundisi said Mangope, who died on Thursday night, had a personal touch with people, he would share their grief in times of bereavement.
Mangope led Bophuthatswana from 1977 to 1994, but not without controversy.
In 1988, Rocky Malebane-Metsing of the Peoples Progressive Party led a coup in an attempt to oust Mangope, but the South African government sent troops and stopped the takeover.
The former high school teacher was widely criticised for being a puppet of the apartheid regime.
During the pre-democracy negotiations‚ Mangope insisted that Bophuthatswana would remain an independent country. However‚ he was overthrown by the military shortly before the first democratic elections.
Mangope remained active in politics post 1994, he was, however, eventually expelled from his UCDP.
Mfudisi said despite the manner they parted ways with Mangope, the UCDP, they would always respect him and take him in high regard.