Emalahleni Local Municipality mayor Linah Malatjie. Picture: Facebook
Emalahleni Local Municipality mayor Linah Malatjie. Picture: Facebook

Condolences pour in for Emalahleni Local Municipality mayor Linah Malatjie who along with her husband died after road collision

By Karen Singh Time of article published Jan 3, 2022

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EMALAHLENI Local Municipality mayor Linah Malatjie and her husband Esau Malatjie died tragically in hospital after they were involved in a head-on collision on the R544 between Gemsbokspruit and Verena in Mpumalanga on Sunday.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said both Malatjie and her passed away in hospital following the accident at about 9.30pm.

The SA Local Government Association (Salga) offered its condolences to the family.

“Salga expresses its sorrow and condolences for the death of Emalahleni Local Municipality mayor, Cllr Linah Malatjie and her husband, Esau Malatjie, who passed away in a car crash,” it said in a statement.

According to Salga, Malatjie was re-elected as mayor of the municipality in Mpumalanga after the local government elections in November last year.

“[Malatjie] made an indelible contribution not only to the communities she served in the municipality but also to the local government sector at large,” it said.

The association said Malatjie was an “amazing and inspirational” leader, who served as a member of Salga’s provincial executive committee in Mpumalanga.

“Thanks to her rigour, professionalism and immense body of knowledge about local government affairs, which she generously shared, the organisation, municipality and the broader municipal government sector benefited considerably from this, and her passing is a profound loss,” Salga said.

It said Malatjie will be remembered as a strong and committed leader with a clear vision for Emalahleni, adding that she always kept her door open to her colleagues and local government stakeholders.

“Salga once again expresses its deepest condolences to her friends, family, and colleagues at this difficult time. She will be sorely missed.”

Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane confirmed that Malatjie and her husband passed away in the early hours of Monday morning.

“Her passing has robbed not only her family of a mother, but the municipality and the entire Mpumalanga province, of a leader with a wealth of experience in local government.”

The Premier said Malatjie was one of her mentors in the political arena in Emalahleni, adding that the mayor had impeccable leadership qualities and an unwavering passion for youth and community development.

“She has always been supportive to the youth. She championed the rights of the youth to be educated, and lobbied the private sector relentlessly to award bursaries to young people in Emalahleni. May her soul rest in peace,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.

A Facebook user wrote: “Today is a sad day for Witbank!! It's a day of great loss!! The passing of our mayor Linah Malatjie and her husband is such a shock!! She was a mother to our city. I saw her elegantly speak to the leaders of this city, but I also saw her sitting amongst the poor and drug addicts, comforting and encouraging them to become a better version of themselves! She was such a humble leader! Our deepest condolences to the family!”

Another Facebook user said: “Rest in Peace EMalahleni Municipality mayor Mama Linah Malatjie. She passed on in a terrible car accident with her husband Baba Esau Malatjie. She was elected as a mayor in 2018. Before she became a council member she was a qualified educator who served as a site steward for South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), education convener, gender convener, departmental head and deputy principal. May God be with the Malatjie family in these sad and painful times as they mourn for them. Rest in Peace Mr and Mrs Malatjie.”

Mbalula said the crash resulted in three fatalities, with the driver of the second vehicle passing away at the scene.

“This is yet another tragic passing of South Africans on our roads since the start of the festive season,” he said.

The minister urged all motorists travelling back to their places of work to be on high alert and observe all the rules of the road.

“I send my sincere condolences to the families of all those involved in this tragic accident and to many that have lived through this terrible experience over the festive season period. All these are a shared national loss, and yet more sad reminders to all of us to be more careful, more caring for each other and more responsible on the roads,” Mbalula said.

He added traffic law enforcement were investigating the cause of the crash.

THE MERCURY

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