Former Bophuthatswana leader Lucas Mangope
The family of former bantustan leader, Lucas Manyane Mangope, have welcomed an offer by the North West provincial government to provide him with a special funeral following his death on Thursday.

They said a provincial funeral was the “great gift” for the former homeland leader for “the role he played to develop Bophuthatswana”, a family member said.

Mangope was the former homeland's leader from 1977 to 1994.

He died at a local hospital in Zeerust with his wife Violet and other family members by his side. He was 94.

Various political parties have expressed their condolences to his family. Chief Mangope said this had helped the family greatly in dealing with the loss.

Their greatest consolation was the offer of a provincial state funeral by the North West government, he added.

“The North West provincial government’s director-general, Dr (Lydia) Sebego, visited our family home in Zeerust and informed us that the government was offering a state funeral for him.

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“Dr Sebego told us that the provincial government had already communicated their intentions to the president (Jacob Zuma) for final approval,” Chief Mangope said.

He said the entire family was happy with the decision.

“He was a public figure,” Mangope said.

He was adamant that the former homeland leader, while in power, had brought stability to Bophuthatswana.

“Whenever there is political turmoil in the country, the people always say that if Mangope was around this would have been different.

"Look at the state of the university, roads and infrastructure in the province. During his tenure, the province had better infrastructure and roads.

"He did us very proud,” Mangope said.

The EFF appears to agree with Mangope’s sentiments.

In its message of condolence, the EFF wrote: “It is regrettable that the post-apartheid leadership has still to match Mangope in its commitment to quality service delivery.

“In fact, they inherited an infrastructure that his illegitimate government had built. They not only failed to maintain it, they have also failed to expand it to the rest of our people.

“This is alongside a very corrupt record and dismal failure to sustain a moral high ground against the past Mangope represented,” spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

Ndlozi said that although Mangope had presided over what was “essentially a crime against humanity, it is not a secret that in the end he came to accept the democratic outcome”.

Mangope’s funeral will be held on Saturday, while a memorial service is planned for Wednesday and could be held at the North West capital of Mahikeng, where Mangope's “political activities happened", his nephew said.

Sunday Independent