Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi lost his third child in a car accident yesterday morning.
Buthelezi's daughter, Lethuxolo "Xolo" Buthelezi, and a male passenger were travelling on the R66 at Mthonjaneni Heights in Melmoth, northern KwaZulu-Natal, when the accident happened.
Provincial department of transport spokesman Nonkululeko Mbatha yesterday confirmed that Buthelezi was driving the vehicle and that the accident had occurred at about 7am.
Mbatha said: "She lost control of the bakkie. It plunged over the road embarkment and she died on the scene.
"A friend who was sitting on the passenger seat survived and was rushed to the nearest hospital in a critical condition."
At the time of going to press Mbatha declined to divulge the identity of the surviving passenger.
"He is in a critical condition at KwaMagwaza Hospital in Melmoth and his identity will be released after his family has been contacted," she said.
The death of Buthelezi's daughter has left members of the IFP in great shock.
Buthelezi's spokesman, Jon Cayzer, said he was shocked and referred Sowetan to the press statement he had issued.
Cayzer said Lethuxolo had worked as an office manger in the Zululand municipality and in the house of traditional leaders .
He said Buthelezi was devastated by Lethuxolo's unexpected death .
He described her as a humorous and beautiful person, who was "very close to her father".
Buthelezi had previously lost two of his children.
He first came out in public in 2004 and said that his daughter Mandisi, and son Nelisuzulu had died of HIV and Aids-related diseases.