'A young tree that had great promise for the future has fallen' - Ramaphosa on Bavelile Hlongwa
President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late deputy minister of mineral resources, Bavelile Hlongwa, as a talented member of the national executive who was humble, qualified and highly intelligent.
He addressed the media in Durban outside Hlongwa's Umbilo home on Friday shortly after meeting with her family.
“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 and her commitment. So in her case, yes, a young tree that had great promise for the future has fallen and we are the poorer as a nation and as a country.”
@CyrilRamaphosa speaking at the home of the late #BavelileHlongwa: "In her we planted the best seeds for the future....so in her case, yes, a young tree that had great promise for the future has fallen, and we are the poorer nation as a country." @SundayTimesZA @TimesLIVE pic.twitter.com/0vmHqXpNV6— Orrin Singh (@orrin417) September 20, 2019
Hlongwa had been returning from an ANC Youth League event at the University of Limpopo on Friday when she was hit and killed by a truck on the N1 highway. She had stopped to assist at another accident scene when the crash happened.
The president said he deeply mourned Hlongwa , someone he enjoyed listening to, was getting to know better every day and relied on for “incisive knowledge”.
“She had views on everything that we spoke about. She was always the first to speak and as she spoke she articulated progressive views, outstanding views, and she had a deep knowledge of many things that she spoke about. I mourn her deeply because I was getting to know her better and better and I knew that I would 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, but more broadly politics, matters that effected the youth.”
He said the national executive suffered a “huge loss”.
“It is a great loss, a great loss to me as the team leader and a great loss to the team of our national executive and a great loss to the African National Congress, but more importantly, a great loss to the country.”
He praised Hlongwa for understanding the plight of South Africans and said she specifically showed great interest in the struggle of women and the youth.
“Just her ability to understand our country, understand the conditions of our people and also her dedication to want to serve the people of our country – that is what I found most striking of her, that at a very young age she had already committed to want to serve and serve in a way that would improve the lives of our people. She advocated two struggles, the struggle of women and the struggle of young people in a very direct and forward thinking manner, so she's a great loss,” he said.
Ramaphosa is expected to speak at Hlongwa's state funeral, which will take place at the Durban ICC on Saturday.