Tribute to late BJ Buthelezi

BJ Buthelezi

Amanzimtoti was saddened to hear the news of the death of magistrate, attorney and former local councillor, Bhekinkosi Jethro Buthelezi on 10 April.

BJ, as he was known to many, was born on 7 April 1947, the first-born son of Mathanda Elias and Nicholina uMaNyandeni Buthelezi.

He started his schooling at Mabeka Primary School, proceeded to KwaCeza Primary, and later completed his junior certificate at a boarding school in KwaCeza. He matriculated at St Augustine in 1966.

  • BJ qualified with a diploma Luris at the University of Zululand in 1974, a B Proc degree at the University of South Africa in 1984 and an LLB degree at the University of Natal in 1993.
  • Between 1968 and 1972, he worked in the Department of Bantu Administration and Development as a clerk in the commissioner’s office.
  • From 1972 to 1976 he worked as a clerk and court interpreter and prosecutor, before being appointed magistrate and assistant head of office. From 1986 to 1988 he was the chief magistrate.
  • From February 1995 to July 1995 he served as the appointed acting regional magistrate.
  • On 5 July 1994, he was admitted as an advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa.
  • On 1 June 1995, BJ was appointed as a councillor in the local government structure of the South Local Council of the Greater Durban Metropolitan Council.
  • On 17 December 1996, he was admitted by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa.
  • On 30 September 1997, he resigned from the position of magistrate of the Department of Justice in order to serve as a full-time chairman of the Executive Committee of the South Local Council.
  • From 2 March 1998, BJ began a sole legal practice as an attorney in Amanzimtoti.
  • From May 1999 to December 2000 he was elected to serve as a member of the Unicity Committee, working towards the formation of the eThekwini Unicity Municipality.
  • BJ dealt extensively with various pieces of legislation dealing with local government. In December 2000, he was re-elected to serve as a councillor of the eThekwini Municipality.
  • On 17 March 2003, he was elected to serve as Chief Whip of the ANC within the eThekwini Municipality, a position he held until February 2006.
  • On 1 March, he was re-elected to the proportional representation list as a councillor in the municipality, representing the ANC.
  • On 3 April 2006, he undertook training towards the bar examination of the National Bar Examination Board of South Africa.
  • In May 2015, BJ took on the role of chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Board.

BJ is survived by his wife Grace MaSibiya Buthelezi, four children Neli, Ndabenhle, Ayanda and Celokuhle, four grandsons Dalingcebo, Mvelo, Konke and Khulasande, as well as two sisters, Nonhlanhla and Thobekile.

George Lithgow worked with the late BJ Buthelezi when he was a councillor of the South Local Council. “He was a man of extreme integrity who was known as a man of action and he certainly did not procrastinate on issues,” said Lithgow.

“He was someone you could count on and he would not back down on issues that he felt strongly about, no matter who the opposition was.

I remember him always fighting for things to be done in the South. He was responsible for obtaining the funds for the Winklespruit and Warner Beach upgrade, which many residents currently enjoy.

In my time as a senior official of the council, I saw many councillors come and go, but not many stood out like BJ did.

He was an articulate, dynamic individual who got things done.

His loss as a councillor to the South of Durban cost us dearly, as we lost someone who would fight to get so many projects done.

My condolences go to his wife and family over this difficult period.”


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Earl Baillache

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