The World Surf League (WSL) Africa sends their condolences to the family of Ricardo Mthembu, the former Mayor of KwaDukuza, who passed away on Wednesday, 8 July 2020 from COVID-19 related complications.

Cllr. Mthembu was a big driving force behind the WSL Qualifying Series (QS), the Ballito Pro, from 2011 to 2019. The Ballito Pro event organiser, Collette Bundy, paid tribute to Mthembu and the work he has done during his tenure as Mayor of KwaDukuza.

"The former Mayor of KwaDukuza, Cllr. Ricardo Mthembu was a strong advocate of the Ballito Pro as a key economic driver for the region and supported the growth and sustainability of the event for 9 years," said Bundy.

World No.3 Jordy Smith of South Africa has won The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong for the second time in his career at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa.  Smith defeated Willian Cardoso of Brazil in the final to claim the illustrious title of Balli Cllr. Ricardo Mthembu and Jordy Smith (ZAF) at the Ballito Pro in 2015. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"Youth Development was a lifetime passion of his, as he made known at all the event launches each year. The developmental component of the sport was especially important for him.

Through his guidance, surfing has been introduced to many communities in KwaDukuza and he really wanted to see more young people of colour learning the sport and being trained to participate."

Cllr Ricardo Mthembu joined the Provincial Legislative of Kwa-Zulu Natal in May 2019, but remained interested in the success of the event.

Described as a selfless and progressive leader by his colleagues, he will be sorely missed.

WSL Africa Regional Manager Colin Fitch, said Mthembu was always committed to development and was passionate about the Ballito Pro event.

"From everyone at WSL and its members, we send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends," said Colin Fitch, WSL Africa Regional Manager.

"He was always committed to development and was very passionate about the Ballito Pro."

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