'Passionate, crazy and dedicated' - Bavelile Hlongwa remembered at funeral
Deputy mineral resources and energy minister Bavelile Hlongwa had been recommended to join the African National Congress's national executive committee before she was killed a week ago.
"At the time of her passing, the national working committee of the African National Congress had recommended for her co-option into the national executive committee. And this was because they had recognised the contribution that she could have made," said President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 38-year-old's funeral at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Saturday.
He said Hlongwa's final act could only be described as a "substantial demonstration of ubuntu" as she reached out to help strangers.
Hlongwa was returning from an ANC Youth League event at the University of Limpopo on September 13 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.
"Your passing has robbed me, your team leader, of the opportunity I wanted to have to see you grow in your job, to see you serve our people. It has robbed me of the opportunity to get to know you better," Ramaphosa said.
He said government had lost an important team member in the relatively new executive.
Hlongwa was appointed deputy minister in May this year.
Ramaphosa told mourners that when he appointed Hlongwa, minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe told him that he had given him a "deputy minister who I think I am going to have great problems working with".
Four weeks later, Mantashe conceded that Hlongwa was exactly what the ministry needed - a passionate, crazy and dedicated worker.
Ramaphosa said Hlongwa's elevation to higher office did not make her arrogant.
"It didn’t make her think that she was way above those that were not at that level. Bavelile's foremost attraction was her character, her humility, compassion, hard work and deepest sense of duty, which I am certain is a reflection of her upbringing. She was human. Her kith and kin are beneficiaries of her unending benevolence."
In his tribute, Mantashe recounted his working relationship with Hlongwa and spoke of their mutual "craziness and silliness".
"This gave us a dynamic combination. She made the department dynamic."
He joked that they had a father/daughter relationship but only when she was right.
"Your life was short but it is worth celebrating. I enjoyed working with you BV," he said.
Hlongwa was buried at the Heroes' Acre in Chesterville.
She is survived by her mother, four children and five siblings.