KZN Transport MEC laid to rest, widow ‘given permission’ to attend funeral in ambulance

KZN Transport MEC laid to rest, widow ‘given permission’ to attend funeral in ambulance

KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Bheki Ntuli has been laid to rest on Thursday.

Bheki Ntuli funeral

Ntuli died of Covid-19 related complications at a local hospital last week Saturday.

Family and friends gathered in Empangeni, north of Durban to bid him farewell.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said the province had not yet come to grips with the loss.  

“The fateful evening of January the 16th compels us to believe the unbelievable, to say what is difficult to say as we bid farewell to this great giant of our revolution.  

“We still find it difficult to accept that he’s no more. It is difficult to say that an ever jovial and energetic and passionate servant of the people is no more. And one wishes that it was a dream that we would be woken up from.”


He described Ntuli as a servant of the people.  

“How to believe that the person who is always everywhere, crisscrossing the province serving the people who are traumatised by accidents is no more, how to believe that someone who is always there to deal with crime and violence is no more, how to believe that someone whose presence and warmth was felt even in solemn moments is no more. How to say goodbye to someone who was able to comfort, bring a smile and trigger love during the sad moments of grief is no more. Though it is difficult and unbelievable, we say farewell to comrade Mpembe.

“Describing today’s new normal where friends and family cannot join and sing where communities cannot risk sharing tears in flesh is an unimaginable pain and trauma of our epoch,” he said.  

The tributes were marred by controversy when it emerged that his wife, who also tested positive for Covid-19, was among the mourners on Thursday.

Speaking to the SABC, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the widow, Snenhlanhla Ntuli, needed a chance to mourn Ntuli.

“I think that is the perfect honour to her husband and the children were here so people must not paddle things that are unnecessary. The family is going through tough times and we need to give them their privacy.

“It is their choice and the choice of the family and we respect that. What is important is bidding farewell to comrade Bheki and in a befitting manner.

“We don’t know the state and the status of the person we are talking about and yet she has lost her husband. Let’s honour that. That is what is important.”

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