ANC shocked by university’s plans to honour Mangope

2010-10-01 07:17

 A controversial decision to name a North West University campus residence after former homeland president Lucas Mangope was made by the student community, the University said yesterday.

Spokesperson Louis Jacobs said students suggested renaming the Lost City residence after Mangope during a consultative process in 2008.

“The suggested name received for the Lost City residence was Lucas Mangope, with the motivation that he was the founder of the former University of Bophuthatswana.”

Jacobs said the students also requested that a statue be erected on campus to honour his contributions to this University.

He explained that the campus residence committee – comprising representatives from campus management, student affairs, managers and wardens – approved the names and motivations in June 2009, and recommended that the campus executive committee approve it.

The campus executive committee met in July 2009, accepted the suggested names in principle and requested that the suggestions be relayed to students for further input.

“Ensuing from this resolution, the residence counsellor of the 2009/10 campus SRC communicated the proposed name for the previously named Lost City residence to the students residing in that residence to determine if there were any objections. No objections were received,” he said.

Mangope (87) is expected to deliver a keynote lecture on October 8, when the University will name the Lost City residence after him and unveil his statue.

The ANC in the North West said it was shocked and called on higher education minister Blade Nzimande to intervene to stop the unveiling of a statue of a “Bantustan tyrant”.

“As the ANC, we strongly condemn this act as a betrayal of the struggle of our people, who were subjected to torture, terror and murder by Lucas Mangope and his regime,” said ANC North West co-ordinator Saki Mofokeng.

The ANC would be mobilising its members to demonstrate their rejection of “this backward move” by the university on that date, he said.

“It is our view that the role of the university is to contribute towards the healing of our nation, and this gesture can only open wounds for the multitudes of our people who suffered under Mangope’s oppressive rule,” Mofokeng said.

He added that attempts in the past few weeks to engage with the university in this regard had failed.

“We therefore call on our people and stakeholders to show their contempt and their resolve to distance themselves from this barbaric act. We further call on all progressive forces, including our alliance partners and youth formations, to take a stand on this matter.”

Mangope became president of Bophuthatswana, one of many independent black homelands that only apartheid South Africa recognised. He was 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’s Progressive Party.

In 1993, during 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 “my 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.

Mangope is the current leader of the United Christian Democratic Party, a minor political party based in the North West.

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