Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says that the untimely passing of deputy minister Bavelile Hlongwa has “robbed the country” of energy in the future.
“When she was appointed deputy minister I told everyone I want to work with her because she is silly because I am equally silly.
“Our combination was going to break mountains and I think this premature death has robbed the country of energy in the future,” he said outside the Hlongwa family home in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
Hlongwa – who was appointed deputy minister of mineral resources and energy in May 2019 – died in a car crash on the N1 from Polokwane on Friday.
Prior to her appointment in Cabinet, Hlongwa was the executive deputy chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
News24 previously reported that the accident, which claimed the life of Hlongwa, together with three other people, happened on the N1 at Maubane Bridge at Carousel Plaza, Hammanskraal.
Hlongwa had “stopped to assist a motorist whose vehicle had overturned on the N1 at Maubane … the deputy minister, her security detail, emergency medical services personnel and Bakwena security group personnel were in the process of assisting the motorist when a flatbed truck crashed into the scene,” Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said in a statement on Saturday.
Several people were left injured.
Mantashe further added that Hlongwa will be greatly missed as she had a “brilliant, complementary” character.
“She was an activist of the ANC. Bavelile is brilliant, two she is very energetic, three if she is committed to a cause, she does not change.”
Speaking on their relationship as colleagues, Mantashe said where it was commonly known that ministers and their deputies often “competed” within their ministry, the two of them, complemented each other.
“Bavelile was not competing; she was complementary, hard, strong. I will miss that complementary character because once you are complementing one another, you are a team. Once you are a team, you are stronger and I am going to miss that a great deal,” he explained.