Lucas Mangope remembered

Thousands of mourners attended former Bophuthatswana president Lucas Mangope’s funeral service at his home in Motswedi near Zeerust. PICTURE: ONALENNA LEBURU

Former and current senior public servants who worked under the leadership of the late Kgosi Lucas Mangyane Mangope described him as a visionary leader who believed in education and agriculture for the development of communities.

Speaking at his memorial service yesterday at Motswedi village, one of the former government officials, Josias Hlongwa, said Mangope was a visionary leader who prioritised education and agriculture during his leadership in the then Bophuthatswana.

“I worked under Mangope who was good in doing research for education and agriculture and it is under his leadership that we have most of the developmental infrastructure that still exists after many years,” Hlongwa said.

“He had good working education systems ranging from primary schools to universities that produced many professionals in various disciplines who can speak positively about their backgrounds in these areas.”

Mangope is the former president of Bophuthatswana. He died last week at the age of 94 after a short illness at his home in Motswedi village near Zeerust.

The memorial service was attended by traditional leaders, senior government officials, pupils, politicians, officials, family members, churches and various community members.

Sidney Mothoagae is another public servant who worked with Mangope since the early ‘70s and said Mangope believed wholeheartedly in agriculture.

“He was a good leader who believed in agriculture to fight poverty among his communities and we worked hard to make sure that we produce enough food for everybody in our land,” Mothoagae said. “Many people who lived in Bophuthatswana will tell you that there was no poverty and unemployment because under his leadership many things were happening.”

He further said Mangope also believed in doing research for any development project he wanted to undertake in various communities.

“He sent us to various countries overseas doing well in education and agriculture to come implement what we had learned in those countries.

“We implemented those projects through research we undertook and developed some of the best infrastructure that still exists even today, including stadiums, Mmabana centers, Mmabatho stadiums, government buildings and colleges,” he said.

Another senior former public servant, Sam Dube, said Mangope instilled discipline in most of his communities of Bophuthatswana.

“We did not have a problem of crime and ill-discipline under his leadership because he created disciplined public servants and communities.

“Bophuthatswana was known as a crime free zone because of his police force and the discipline he created in his communities,” he said.

After he was overthrown in 1994, Mangope formed the United Christian Democratic Party and for years represented the new party at the provincial legislature.

The provincial government said it had written to the presidency for the former Bophuthatswana leader to be accorded a state funeral.

Mangope will be buried in Motswedi on Saturday.