Bophuthatswana was better

Sipho Mfundisi responds to Setumo Stone's critique of ‘Bop nostalgia'

In his reply to responses by members of political parties to his state of the nation address President Jacob Zuma made it pertinently clear that whether people like or not they cannot change history.

This he said when some people, some even from among members of his party, took issue with his reference to the contributions made by former Presidents PW Botha and FW de Klerk to the present day democracy.

The same should apply to Setumo Stone in so far as he refers to the prosperity of the erstwhile Bophuthatswana as a myth (see article). Whatever views he holds, Bophuthatswana was the best even compared to the present day.

As citizens of this new democratic country, we have rights as enshrined in the constitution to freedom of speech. No one is going to be muffled by Stone.

That even a judge of the High Court went on to state that during Kgosi Mangope's tenure in Bophuthatswana women and girls could walk at night in the streets unescorted without any fear is proof that there was law and order in that country - something all sensible people yearn for nowadays. They can, therefore not be faulted for hankering for those good old days.

It is not surprising that the current government is bringing back the police force to protect life and property

It is ignorance that makes Stone say Bop Broadcasting stations were dissolved because they were not financially viable. Truth is the political upstarts who landed in Mmabatho like vultures had no clue what communication is all about. All they were obsessed with was to close the stations and line their pockets with the proceeds.

It is common knowledge that all the Bop Broadcasting money that went down the drain is being sought, and sooner rather than later those responsible will answer to the courts of this land. Stone should be aware that the North West is one province that is not covered as it should be by the media. The question is what happened to the state-of-the-art resources that were used prior to 1994?

The argument on travelling long distances to and from work holds no water. How many people travel from the West Rand to the East Rand, from Pretoria and surrounding areas to as far as Vereeniging and back from work? By the way this goes for all races black and white.

Poverty is all over; even in first world countries. Even countries referred to as the Asian Tigers have abject poverty. South Africa herself even after 16 years of democracy and the foreign aid she continues to receive, is waddling in poverty. It is absurd to say Bophuthatswana was a crucible of poverty.

Just because Stone lives in one of the leafy suburbs he tends to be blinded that that is the case for all people. He has to go Mqanduli, Cofimvaba, Malamulele, Umvoti and other areas and note that the greater part of the North West that was in Bophuthatswana had no mud schools let alone children learning under trees as is the case elsewhere.

This brings me to the question of matriculation results. Stone should know well that these results were second to none south of the Zambesi.

Let us look at the following statistics for matriculation results:

Year            ex Bop               ex DET

1992         67, 23             46, 72
1993         66, 8               45, 38
1994         70, 2               47, 5
1995         68, 1               45, 2

(Source: Department of Education: North West)

Since 1996 to 2009 when the ANC government took over the running of Std 10 and what is now called Grade 12 examinations, the results have been getting worse and worse.

In the 14 years referred to it was only in 2003 and 2004 that the aggregate pass was 73, 3% and 70, 7% respectively. The mediocrity of these results spells doom for the future of our children and that's where the rub is! (DoE)

There is nothing wrong in an artist singing a song in which he bemoans real issues such as the loss of jobs, the studios that stand vacant and some other issues.

Let us concentrate on paving the way forward by getting better results to equip our future generations for life. Harping on the non issue that whichever part of this country was does not add value to the lives of our people, as that will not change history as it stands.

Sipho Mfundisi is National Chairman, United Christian Democratic Party and member of the North West Provincial Legislature

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