A young and promising tree had fallen, President Cyril Ramaphosa said of deceased deputy mineral resources and energy minister, Bavelile Hlongwa.

Durban – A young and promising tree had fallen, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday afternoon of deceased deputy mineral resources and energy minister, Bavelile Hlongwa.

“In her case, a young tree that had a great deal of promise for the future has fallen, and we are the poorer as a nation and as a country.”

Ramaphosa was speaking to the media outside the family home in Umbilo, just south of Durban.

Thirty-eight-year-old Hlongwa died in a car crash in the Gauteng province on Friday last week. She was appointed to her position in May.

“In her we had planted the best seeds for the future. We knew that we were going to continue harvesting as a country, from her knowledge, from her talent, from her commitments,” said Ramaphosa, who was joined at the home by various officials, including KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala and ANC Women’s League members.

“I mourn her deeply because I was getting to know her better and better, and I knew that I could rely on her for incisive knowledge, not only in her craft, which was minerals and energy, but also in her other learned craft, which is chemical engineering.”

Ramaphosa said Hlongwa was also knowledgeable in politics and matters that affected the country’s youth. She was active in the struggle for women and the youth, he said.

The ANC said in a statement following her death that Hlongwa “stood out in her work, activism and commitment to the ideals of the ANC”.

The governing party further described Hlongwa as the “true embodiment of a new cadre who joined our movement to serve the people of South Africa, and not to be served”.

“She was an epitome of excellence and lived with these attributes of selflessness and humility to the end – a new cadre par excellence.”

Ramaphosa will attend Hlongwa’s funeral, which takes place on Saturday in Durban.

African News Agency (ANA)