A tried and tested freedom fighter who served the ANC with selfless dedication and loyalty.
That’s how his fellow party members will remember KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Muntukayise Bhekuyise “Mphemba” Ntuli, who died on Saturday from a Covid-19-related illness.
Pule Mabe, the ANC’s national spokesperson, said Ntuli, who was born in 1957, cut his political teeth at a very young age.
“He worked for the ANC underground structures at a time when it was extremely dangerous to be associated with the ANC,” Mabe said.
“He placed the goal of liberation above his own safety and comfort. Even when his own family was harassed, with his own mother and siblings killed by security agents, Mphemba remained in the trenches of struggle fighting for the freedom of his people.
“Mphemba will be remembered for his unrelenting commitment towards peace in northern KwaZulu-Natal at the height of political violence and instability.”
Ntuli was a member of Mkhonto weSizwe (MK) and involved in the establishment of ANC structures in northern KwaZulu-Natal following the unbanning of the party.
He also served as chairperson of the ANC in Musa Dladla region for over 15 years, and as a member of Parliament in the National Assembly from 1999 to 2003. He was appointed MEC in September 2019.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said the ANC was both deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Ntuli’s death in a Durban hospital.
“Throughout his life in politics, he has been a humble, loyal, dedicated, hardworking and exemplary servant of the people of KZN,” said Zikalala.
“MEC Ntuli has been on the frontline of combat, working day in and out in all government efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on citizens. He is a soldier who died with his boots on.”
Sikalala said that as the MEC, he led many campaigns against the virus in his position of chairperson of the justice, crime prevention cluster with the Provincial Command Council; and had also started programmes to tackle gender-based violence, taxi violence and the carnage on the province’s roads.
Sending his condolences to the MEC’s family and friends, Zwakele Mncwango, leader of the Democratic Alliance in KZN, said: “Ntuli was a MEC who was always available to work for the community, and whatever task he was given, he did it with so much dedication and devotion. We view this as a big loss to the province.”
Mncwango’s comments were echoed by the IFP. The party said Ntuli would be remembered for his “humility, friendly personality and his accessibility to all his peers in the provincial legislature”.
IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa added: “Ntuli was a servant of the people of KZN, and he served the transport and community safety and liaison portfolio with integrity, commitment, determination, diligence and the utmost respect.
“He ensured that his department improved the provincial road infrastructure, and brought stability and effective solutions to the troubled KZN taxi industry, which has for years been plagued by bloodshed.