With the death in a car accident of Pietermaritzburg United star midfield-cum-striker Mondli Cele early on Sunday morning, South African football has lost one of its brightest stars and is poorer without him, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula said.
Mbalula said he had learnt of Cele’s sudden death with shock and sadness.
“I watched him play Saturday [night] as he landed the opening goal leading his club to a 3-3 draw with Orlando Pirates. I did not know I was watching him play for the last time. South African football has lost one of its brightest stars and is poorer without him.
“It is sad that we continue to lose young lives on our roads. Road accidents rob us of our future and Cele is one out of many examples. I send my sincere condolences to his family and his club; may they find solace in knowing they share the loss of such young talent with all football loving South Africans,” Mbalula said.
Earlier on Sunday, KwaZulu-Natal transport, community safety, and liaison MEC Willies Mchunu said Cele, together with a SABC sport reporter, who was also an occupant of the vehicle, died on the scene of the accident, while two other occupants were injured when the car they were driving in was involved in a crash in Pietermaritzburg.
The police investigation’s preliminary report indicated that a Nissan Almera veered off the road, overturned, and plunged into a river.