Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has revealed that Bavelile Hlongwa died after she was run over by a car while trying to assist victims of another accident.
Durban – Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has revealed that deputy minister of mineral resources and energy Bavelile Hlongwa died after she was run over by a car on the N1 shortly after they had both spent a jovial time at the University of Limpopo.
The minister was talking to the media at Hlongwa’s family home in Umbilo, south of Durban. She was accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
“I think it was around after 9.30pm when I got a call from the protector who drives me in Pretoria, and he said ‘ma I am rushing towards Carousel Toll Gate because deputy minister Hlongwa’s protector is hysterical, she is a bit incoherent, but she is talking about the deputy minister being run over by a car,” said Dlamini Zuma.
“So I said ‘just rush there. Tell me which hospital they are taking her, I will rush to that hospital,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma said after speaking to paramedics “it was clear that she must have passed away on impact”.
Dlamini Zuma said she and Hlongwa spent a happy time together on Friday when Dlamini Zuma was inaugurated as the chancellor of the University of Limpopo. She said after the inauguration, Hlongwa was going to attend an ANC Youth League 75th anniversary at the university.
She said after the inauguration she, her daughter and Hlongwa sat together for lunch and Hlongwa “was very happy”.
“If you know her she is a busy bee, grabbing this one, talking, taking photos. I have got photos that we took yesterday (on Friday). She was just her happy self, nicely dressed,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma left the university at about 3.30 pm on Friday, leaving her daughter with Hlongwa to attend the ANCYL event. She said they had promised her that they were going to sleep over and leave the province on Saturday morning.
UKZN executive director for corporate relations Ashton Bodrick said the fact that Hlongwa was killed while trying to assist victims of another car accident, which happened earlier, was a reflection of her character.
“Much of her life was characterised with the spirit of Ubuntu. It is therefore not surprising that her final act was one of bravery,” said Bodrick.
Bodrick also described Hlongwa as an active alumnus of UKZN who graduated with a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Public Administration.
“As a student she displayed tremendous leadership skills, having taken an active role in student leadership matters.
“Her career has included work as a community health worker and tutor during her undergraduate studies. Later, she went on to work in the refinery industry as a process technologist, production engineer, and gas scheduler,” said Bodrick.
ANC provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said Hlongwa was humble.
“If you look at her academic qualifications you could not tell that she was at that level.
“She was humble and understanding on how an ANC leader should behave and appeal to people, and she was not aloof and belonged with the people, but she did not shy away from expressing her views,” said Mthembu.
Mthembu said Hlongwa was also “very” involved in the struggle.
“We know her from the ranks of the South African Students Congress (SASCO), ANCYL, ANCWL although she was not in the leadership, she was an active member.
“The ANC leadership felt that young as she was, she should be given a serious leadership position to be a deputy minister,” said Mthembu.