Since the death of the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Bavelile Hlongwa on Friday, condolences have been pouring in. Hlongwa died in a car crash on the N1 Highway, near Hammanskraal. It is believed that the deputy minister was assisting a motorist who was involved in an accident earlier, when a truck killed her and four others.
On Tuesday, SAPS officers, Metro and Protection Security Services officers were visible outside the Hlongwa home in Umbilo, on the corner of Bartle Road, just opposite the Bartle Centenary House. Provincial leaders, members of Parliament and others have been paying their respects to Hlongwa’s family since news of the tragedy surfaced.
President Cyril Ramaposa issued a statement saying he was deeply saddened by the untimely passing of the deputy minister. He also expressed condolences to the families of the four other people who died in the accident. Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula said S.A has lost a diligent and dedicated servant of the people. “Just as she lived , Hlongwa died helping others.” The 38-year-old Hlongwa also known as ‘BV’ to many, was appointed as a deputy minister in May this year and prior to that, was an executive deputy chair of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). She was born in Umzinto, on the South Coast. Hlongwa graduated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. She started her career at Shell Downstream SA and was also exposed to leadership positions in 1999, where she served on the Local Community Development Committee. In 2011, Hlongwa was elected into the South African Institute of Chemical Engineers, KZN branch and in 2013, served as a treasurer for the structure. In 2017, she was appointed as the executive deputy chair of the board of the NYDA.
The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, visited the Hlongwa family on Sunday, saying: “The country has been robbed of energy in the future. Our combination was going to break mountains, she will be missed. She had a brilliant complimentary character and was never of competition,” he added.
Umbilo Community Policing Forum chair, Heather Rorick said it was saddening to hear of her death. “It has been said that she was a very special person who always helped others, sad she had to die while doing so,” Arrangements for her burial
are underway and the South African flag is flown at half
mast at every flag station in the country until the deputy minister is laid to rest, this coming weekend.
Friends and family are still shocked by her death. Her Facebook page is overflowing with comments, from colleagues, friends and those who met her along the way. Many described her as a motivator, a person they looked up to and still expected a lot from her. They describe her as a revolutionary with a pure heart. Others said BV loved her family, especially her mother and children.