KZN Transport MEC Ntuli laid to rest
Durban - The late Transport MEC Bheki Ntuli was hailed as a champion of peace who embodied forgiveness even in the face of terrible injustices perpetrated against him and his loved ones.
The 63-year-old Ntuli, affectionately known by his clan name Mphemba, succumbed to Covid-19-related complications at a Durban hospital on Saturday and was buried in his hometown of Empangeni yesterday where he was given a category one provincial funeral.
Ntuli’s final send-off was graced by Premier Sihle Zikalala, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Legislature Speaker Nontembeko Boyce, former premier Willies Mchunu and Chief Whip of the IFP in the Legislature Blessed Gwala.
The underlying theme of Zikalala’s touching tribute to Ntuli was Ntuli’s ability to forgive and strive for peace at all times, even extending an olive branch to those who had wronged him, both within the ANC and outside of the ANC.
“When the ANC was unbanned and deployed Comrade Willies Mchunu to lead the establishment of the its structures and eventually the launch of the Northern Natal region, Comrade Mphemba played a critical role in in the establishment of self defence units and structures of the ANC from Mandeni right through to Ingwavuma,” Zikalala said.
He said that Ntuli had played a pivotal role in building structures of the ANC in different parts of the province including Esikhawini, Nongoma and Newcastle after the ANC had been banned for more than three decades.
“His participation in the struggle earned him enemies who were hellbent on trying to kill him and he survived several assassination attempts on his life and lost four family members including his mother but after that said there must be life, there must be reconciliation,” Zikalala said.
Despite being a senior member of the ANC, Zikalala said that for Ntuli the struggle had not been for positions but the service to his party and the people.
“He never fought for positions despite being a regional chairperson. He accepted being sent to the Legislature or to Parliament but he remained in the movement in 1994,” Zikalala said.
Mbalula described Ntuli as an exemplary comrade who embodied all the characteristics of what it meant to be a comrade as he was capable of empathising, acting in the best of the majority, sacrificing and advancing a Struggle to liberate the people from all forms of oppression.
“Corrupt people are not comrades. They treat the poor with disdain, they are preoccupied with advancing their narrow self-serving interest at the expense of the poor.
“Factionalists are not comrades, for they divide the people using pettiness and narrow interests. Both don’t believe in human solidarity, a key characteristic of being a comrade, they are in fact as counter-revolutionary as the incompetent, anarchists and the murderers,” Mbalula said.