The Presiding Officers of Parliament have expressed shock and deep sadness at the news of the passing of Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Bavelile Hlongwa.
In a statement, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo said the passing of such a young, talented and vibrant leader with an incredible sharp mind and clarity of thought is a devastating loss not only to Parliament and government but the entire nation.
"The future and the hopes of this country rests on the shoulders of such capable, experienced and educated young leaders to contribute in intensifying and taking forward quality public service to the people. In this regard, much was still expected of this young woman leader," said the officers, who described Hlongwa as genuinely dedicated to the cause of social and economic transformation of the people.
"On behalf of the leadership of Parliament, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to Deputy Minister Hlongwa's family, friends and her comrades in the African National Congress," said the Speaker and the Chairperson.
The Deputy Minister passed away in a car accident on Friday.
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe is expected to visit the Hlongwa family to formally convey his condolences to the family in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
Hlongwa was among the new Members of Parliament and the National Executive following the elections earlier this year.
Reflecting on Hlongwa's work, Parliament's Presiding Officers said she brought great energy and remarkable enthusiasm to the new administration's endeavour to radically change the quality of lives of South Africans.
"As a qualified chemical engineer and experienced leader who rose through both political, public and corporate ranks, she fitted like a glove in her portfolio in the Mineral Resources and Energy Department and infused necessary youthful energy in driving this important sector of our economy."
The President has directed that the national flag fly at half-mast at every flag station in the country until the Deputy Minister is laid to rest.