KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has welcomed the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a Provincial Official Funeral category one for the late Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli, and former Ukhozi FM station manager Welcome Nzimande.
The decision follows a request by the Premier on behalf of the provincial government and the people of KwaZulu-Natal to the President to accord these outstanding patriots a befitting recognition for the immense contribution they have made in building a peaceful, developing and better KwaZulu-Natal.
Zikalala said the Provincial Government is humbled by the President’s gesture to honour “these distinguished citizens of our province with such a fitting farewell”.
“They deserve this 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.
“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,” Zikalala said in a statement on Tuesday.
While the pain of the loss of these luminous stars is still too hard to bear, the Premier added their legacy will never be erased from their hearts and minds.
“We will daily strive to end poverty and bring hope and dignity to our people,” Zikalala said.
The Premier also expressed heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring messages of support that have been received from across all sectors of society and beyond borders, since the news of the passing of Ntuli and Nzimande became public.
The funeral arrangements will take place as follows:
Nzimande will be laid to rest on Wednesday, where a short prayer service will be held at the Sharks Board in uMhlanga, Durban. The burial will take place at his birth place in ePhatheni, Richmond.
The late MEC will be laid to rest on Thursday at his home in Empangeni. A prayer service will take place at Esikhaleni Community Hall.
The funeral services will be streamed live on all the KZN Provincial Government platforms and will follow the level 3 adjusted regulations and COVID-19 protocols.
“Flags will accordingly fly at half-mast as directed by the President, in line with the policy governing Provincial Official Funeral category on,” Zikalala said.