Official funeral for Ukhozi FM station manager and MEC Bheki Ntuli
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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala announced that the President of the Republic of South Africa declared a provincial official funeral for the late Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli; as well as celebrated broadcaster and former Ukhozi FM station manager Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande.
The decision follows a request by Zikalala on behalf of the KZN provincial government to accord these outstanding patriots a befitting recognition for the immense contribution they have made in building a peaceful, developing and better KwaZulu-Natal.
Muntukayise Bhekuyise Ntuli, was born in 1957 in Mtubatuba, in the north of KwaZulu-Natal. Ntuli passed away on Saturday in a Durban hospital, due to COVID –19 related complications.
Affectionately known by his clan name “Mphemba”, he was appointed to the position of MEC in September 2019. Throughout his life in politics, he has been a humble, loyal, dedicated, hard-working and exemplary servant of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
EThekwini Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has described veteran radio broadcaster Nzimande, who died on Friday, as a great ambassador for indigenous music and culture.
Zikalala said both deserve recognition for the sterling role they played in advancing the lives of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
“Anyone chronicling the history of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa would be found wanting if the names of MEC Bheki “Mphemba” Ntuli and Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande did not take pride of place,“ Zikalala said.
“These were humble servants, ambassadors of peace who left an indelible imprint on our province. Their record contribution is the stuff of legend, that coming generations will do well to emulate. While the pain of the loss of these luminous stars is still too hard to bear, their legacy will never be erased from our hearts and minds. We will daily strive to end poverty and bring hope and dignity to our people.” he added.
Nzimande will be laid to rest on Wednesday, 19 January 2021.
A short prayer Service will be held at the KZN Sharks Board in uMhlanga, Durban. The burial will take place at his birth place in ePhatheni, Richmond.
Ntuli will be laid to rest on Thursday at his home in Empangeni. A prayer service will take place at Esikhaleni Community Hall. Proceedings will commence from 09h00am
Zikalala said SA flags will accordingly fly at half-mast as directed by the President, in line with the policy governing provincial official funeral category one.
During his tenure as MEC in this portfolio, he had begun to implement a number of programmes that were aimed at reversing the tide of Gender-Based Violence, Taxi Violence, and reducing the carnage on the province’s roads.
Ntuli cut his political teeth working in the ANC underground structures and was a liberation fighter, who was involved in uMkhonto WeSizwe underground operations.
He has previously served as a shop steward of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa, and was involved in the formation of ANC structures in the then Northern Natal region.
Mphemba garnered a lot of respect as a peacemaker at the height of internecine political violence between ANC and IFP in Northern Natal, mainly in what is now known as the Musa Dladla Region.
He served for more than 15 years as the Chairperson of the ANC in the Musa Dladla Region. He has served for more than 20 years as a member and leader of the ANC sub–committee on Peace and Stability.
Kaunda said that Nzimande touched the lives of many through his love and passion for indigenous music including maskandi. He also became a household name when he presented a television show which promoted indigenous music, Ezodumo.
“Nzimande’s family must find comfort in the fact that he left a legacy that we are all proud of. His passing is not only a loss to his family but to the country as a whole. As the people of eThekwini and the province as a whole, we have been robbed of this great leader with exceptional talent. The most appropriate way of paying homage to this veteran broadcaster is to ensure that we walk in his footsteps so that his legacy is preserved for future generations.” said Kaunda.