Pretoria - Political leaders and other organisations have paid tribute to Deputy Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Bavelile Hlongwa, who died in a car crash on Friday.
“With deep anguish, we wish to join the President and our country in conveying condolences to the family and loved ones of Comrade Bavelile. As we commenced our term of office in the new administration of our Government, we were beginning to gel as we considered ways in which we could deal with the challenges facing our Ministry, and our country. This is, indeed, an untimely end to a young, promising prospect”, said Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe.
President Cyril Ramaphosa also expressed his condolences. “The death of deputy minister Hlongwa is a devastating, untimely loss of a talented young leader who, alongside minister Gwede Mantashe, was playing an important and dynamic role in an important sector of our economy,” the presidency said.
"President Ramaphosa has expressed his most sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of deputy minister Hlongwa, as well as the stakeholders in business, labour, and community with whom she engaged in the mining sector."
Ramaphosa also expressed his condolences to the families of the four people who died with the deputy minister on the scene while attempting to assist the passengers involved in another incident.
The details of the accident in which Hlongwa was killed are unclear. The crash is said to have occurred on the N1 from Polokwane.
According to Timeslive, Hlongwa and four other people were run over and killed by a truck after the deputy minister’s car stopped to assist at another accident.
According to ANC National Spokesperson Pule Mabe, Hlongwa has been returning from the 75th anniversary celebrations of "her organisation and political school", the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), which was held at the University of Limpopo on Friday.
"As a movement, we are filled with a great sense of grief and shock, to lose such a dynamic, educated, intelligent, fearless and selfless young woman who gave so much of herself, skills, time and life to the service of the people of South Africa and the ANC. She also devoted her time to political education and international work - believed in radical economic transformation and always respected the authority of the movement and abided by decisions of the collective with undivided loyalty,” said ANC Secretary General Comrade Ace Magashule.
Hlongwa was appointed deputy minister of mineral resources and energy with effect from May 30, 2019. Prior to her appointment, she served as executive deputy chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency.
She studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Howard College, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in chemical engineering. She started her career at Shell Downstream SA.
Hlongwa would be honoured with an official funeral category two in line with government’s state, official, and provincial funeral policy. The president had further directed that the national flag fly at half-mast at every flag station in the country until the deputy minister's funeral, the presidency said.
Inkatha Freedom Party national spokesman Mkhuleko Hlengwa extended sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, the ANC, and the department of mineral resources and the country at large "who now mourn the tragic and untimely death" of Hlongwa.
"The news of the passing on of the deputy minister and four other South Africans travelling on our roads were met with deep sadness, regret, and shock. Our country mourns this loss as deputy minister Hlongwa was a dynamic and passionate servant of the people. She was an inspiration to the youth and she sacrificed so much of herself in the service to others," Hlengwa said.
Democratic Alliance shadow minister of mineral resources Kevin Mileham sent heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Hlongwa.
"It is believed that four other people also passed in the car crash. We send our condolences to their families and loved ones and wish for a speedy recovery for all those who were injured in this tragic accident. Deputy minister Hlongwa was a young, dynamic leader and had a great future ahead of her. Rest In peace Bavelile Hlongwa," Mileham said.
African National Congress chief whip Pemmy Majodina expressed shock and sadness at Hlongwa's death.
As one of the youngest members of the executive, the untimely death of Hlongwa left an immense void within structures of the ANC parliamentary caucus and the ANC as a whole. With her departure, South Africans had "truly been robbed of one of its most committed public representatives".
"The ANC parliamentary caucus extends its heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and comrades during this difficult time of loss. May her revolutionary spirit rest in peace," Majodina said.