Johannesburg mayor, Jolidee Matongo, whose father is a Zimbabweans and was elected city father last month, died today in a car accident.
According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Matongo died after he participated in a voter registration exercise at his birth place, Soweto.
In a tweet, Ramaphosa expressed sadness over Matongo’s death the 46-year old mayor.
He said, “It is hard to comprehend this tragedy, given the vitality and passion with which Mayor Matongo interacted with me and residents of Soweto so shortly before his death. Nothing could prepare any of us for this sudden loss, which has deprived our nation’s economic centre of its second Executive Mayor in two months.
“Mayor Matongo has been taken from us at a time when he was totally immersed in improving conditions and creating opportunities for all the people of Johannesburg and stakeholders in the metropolitan economy. Like all of us, he was looking forward to the forthcoming election, and we saw in person today that he had put his heart and soul into mobilising the people of the city to make their voices heard on 1 November. The time we spent together has been rendered a priceless treasure given his untimely and traumatic passing. May his soul rest in peace.”
Mayor Matongo was elected unopposed on 10 August 2021, following the passing of his predecessor, Geoff Makhubo.
Some South Africans called for his removal soon after he was elected claiming that he was a Zimbabwean immigrant.
But his former colleagues in the African National Congress, including Economic Freedom Fighters party leader, Julius Malema, defended him saying he was born and bred in South Africa.
In a tweet soon after his election, Malema said, “We grew up with Jodilee Matango in the YL, and today, we are canvassed to reject him because his father was Zimbabwean. I’m sorry, don’t count me in your nonsense. Politically we disagree, but he remains a black brother of mine.”