Tributes pour in for doyen of construction Ndlovu

Thandi Ndlovu has died after being in a car crash.
Thandi Ndlovu has died after being in a car crash.

Businesswoman Thandi Ndlovu has been described as a selfless leader who lived to make a difference to those around her.

Yesterday, tributes continued to pour in as country mourns the passing of the former Umkhonto weSizwe veteran.

Ndlovu died on Saturday morning in hospital after being involved in a head-on collision on the N4 on her way to a funeral in Rustenburg in the North West. Three other people died in the crash.

She founded Motheo Construction Group in 1997 and served as its executive chair.

She was extensively involved in the low-cost housing sector, through the Motheo group of companies. She also served as a board member at various listed and unlisted companies.

Acting president David Mabuza said the nation was sad to lose a phenomenal woman such as Ndlovu.

"Dr Ndlovu has been at the forefront of almost all our women empowerment initiatives, wherein she pioneered black economic empowerment and was foremost in the peace and reconstruction efforts of our country and continent. We wish to convey our deepest condolences to the Ndlovu family, for their loss is our loss too. May her soul rest in eternal peace," said Mabuza.

Gauteng premier David Makhura described Ndlovu as one of the brightest stars in the business community.

"Dr Thandi Ndlovu has served the people of our country as. an entrepreneur and business leader who pioneered the participation of black women in the construction industry." Makhura said.

Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu said Ndlovu was a selfless leader who put the interests of others before hers.

"She went from being a medical doctor to conquering the male-dominated construction and building environment sector seamlessly. Dr T was a patriot, trailblazer, business leader who was adored, revered and celebrated beyond our shores," said Zungu.

South African Housing and Infrastructure Fund CEO Rali Mampeule also mourned Ndlovu's death.

"The construction industry has lost a heroine, a dedicated businesswoman and a selfless leader. Dr Thandi paved the way for a lot of women in the industry and she was on a mission to unlock more opportunities for others."

The Businesswomen's Association of SA said: "Thandi Ndlovu was a true inspiration to many... [She was] a fearless business leader, social activist and a champion for the empowerment of women, among others."

Ndlovu was born in Soweto. After matriculating at Orlando High she enrolled for a BSc degree at the University of Fort Hare where she was heavily involved in politics.

In the early 1980s, Ndlovu went into exile in Angola where she spent years actively fighting the apartheid regime as part of MK.

In 1984, she moved to Zambia, where she completed her BSc (human biology) and MBChB degrees.

After returning to SA, Ndlovu ran a private medical practice for five years in Orange Farm.