Rustenburg - Former Bophuthatswana leader Lucas Mangope contributed immensely to the relationship between traditional leaders and the North West provincial government, the African National Congress (ANC) in North West said on Friday.
"He leaves this world when the current administration enjoys a good working relationship with dikgosi [traditional leaders] and that includes his own royal house," said deputy provincial secretary Sussana Dantjie.
Mangope was the chief of Bahurutshe Boo-Manyane in Motswedi, Lehurutshe near Zeerust. He died at his home in Motswedi on Thursday, he was 94.
"We wish the Mangope family strength in this time of loss and want to assure them that we are with them in prayers," she said.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West also send its condolences to the family.
"The DA wishes his family and loved ones strength during this difficult time. The DA hopes the Mangope family gets the time to grieve their loved one," said provincial leader Joe McGluwa.
Mangope became president of Bophuthatswana in 1977, one of many independent black homelands which only apartheid South Africa recognised. He had been accused of using police brutality to suppress protest.
In 1988, he was reinstated by the apartheid government following a failed coup led by Rocky Malebana-Metsing, leader of the People Progressive Party.
In 1993, in the build up to the first non-racial elections in South Africa in 1994, Mangope made it clear that Bophuthatswana would remain independent of the new and integrated South Africa and that he would not allow the upcoming elections to take place in "his country".
Mangope was removed from office by South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha and Transitional Executive Council member Mac Maharaj in March, 1994.
His statue at the Ga-Rona government complex was removed soon after the new administration under Popo Molefe took over.
African News Agency/ANA