“It is with profound shock and sadness that President Cyril Ramaphosa has learnt of the passing of the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Ms Bavelile Hlongwa, who tragically lost her life in a motor vehicle accident yesterday, Friday 13 September 2019 on the N1 from Polokwane,” the presidency said in a statement on Saturday.
“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 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,” Ramaphosa said.
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.