Parliament's presiding officers were "shocked and engulfed in disbelief" at the news that ANC member of Parliament Fezeka Loliwe died in a car accident on Monday afternoon – the third MP to be killed on the road since August.
Loliwe died after her vehicle overturned on the R63 near Fort Hare University in Alice.
National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise said her family and the country had been robbed of a remarkable public servant.
"The presiding officers are deeply distraught; the tragic road accident involving a member of Parliament is the third in as many months," a statement on Monday evening read. "It also brings to five the number of MPs who have passed away in the [past] few months through various causes."
DA MP Tarnia Baker died in a car accident near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal in October, while ANC MP Timothy Khoza was killed in an accident in Paarl in August, while on oversight duty. Three more MPs were injured in the same accident.
Parliament commemorated Loliwe as one of the bright stars who served SA with faithfulness and passion.
She served on Parliament's successful ad hoc committee on the SABC inquiry in 2016, and was also a whip in the ANC caucus's disciplinary committee.
"She was one of the most exemplary members of Parliament, a dedicated and hardworking servant who derived immense joy from making a difference in the lives of South Africans.
"Widely loved for her kindness and humility, Ms Loliwe was also respected for her sharp mind and her uncompromising, fearless and probing style of oversight over those who appear before Parliament."
Parliament expressed its sincere condolences to Loliwe's family, friends, comrades and colleagues, saying that she died doing what she loved most in the line of duty.
"No words and messages of sympathy can take away the pain her family, friends and comrades are going through. However, we hope and pray that her family will find solace in the knowledge that Parliament and the nation have lost a great human being, a foremost legislator and a diligent public representative."
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu expressed his condolences on Monday.
Loliwe had served since 2014 as whip in the portfolio committee on labour, and then as chairperson.
Mthembu said: "Her untimely departure leaves a deep void within structures of the ANC caucus and Parliament as a whole. The people of South Africa have truly been robbed of one of the most dedicated public representatives. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the entire Loliwe family, her friends and her comrades."
Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said a case of culpable homicide was under investigation. Loliwe was alone when her vehicle overturned.
"The circumstances [in which] the accident occurred are still unclear," she said.