Final farewell as Hlongwa laid to rest

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A humble, unapologetically fearless, robust, informed and academically grounded person -- these are the words President Cyril Ramaphosa used to described the late Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Bavelile Hlongwa.

Affectionately known as “BV”, Hlongwa passed away in an accident on the N1 highway while travelling from Limpopo to Gauteng on 13 September 2018.

Delivering the eulogy at the funeral service held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Saturday, President Ramaphosa said when he appointed Hlongwa and other young people into the executive, government wanted to make a definite statement of faith in the youth of the country, to affirm that the future lies with them - in the same way the past and present bear the hallmarks and imprints of the youth.

“If anyone ever had doubts about the contribution that young people could make to the public affairs of our country, Bavelile and other young people we have put in strategic positions have proven that our country has gained manifold from the contribution she and her peers continue to make. Her contribution was underpinned by unique urgency and always focused on the future.

“Even at her tender age, she always looked to what her generation would bequeath to their next generation. Her recurring theme was ‘we must ensure that we transform our economy, return the land to our people, so that those who come after us, she would say, should never have to ask what we did to address poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country,” President Ramaphosa said.

“In expressing her views, she was unapologetically fearless, courageous and ready to take risks… She was basically a revolutionary and she was a visionary as well,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President said government wanted to make use of Hlongwa’s technical skills as an engineer and as a young person to transform the mining and energy sector, and improve the lives of the people of South Africa.

He said he was delighted that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was able to find a wonderful accommodation between himself and the late Deputy Minister, because “they started to create an absolutely wonderful working relationship”.

The President expressed his condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives and those who sustained injuries in the same accident where Hlongwa passed away.

Mantashe paid tribute to Hlongwa.

“She didn’t want to be competitive and covered my weaknesses... The three months I worked with her made a difference, [and] I enjoyed working with BV,” Mantashe said.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Hlongwa’s sister Nokuthula said Hlongwa loved her family, including extended family and her adopted children.

She challenged other people to follow in Hlongwa’s footsteps and assist the needy.

Speaking on behalf of Hlongwa’s friends, ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini described Hlongwa as a profound, intelligent, dynamic and revolutionary cadre of the organisation.

“She had an interest in education and made sure that her siblings went to school. She [also] engaged both men and women on gender-based violence (GBV) issues,” Dlamini said. –