Time spent with late Joburg Mayor Jolidee Matongo a priceless treasure, says Ramaphosa
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Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has reacted with shock at the death of City of Joburg Mayor, Jolidee Matongo, on Saturday night.
“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,” Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the Presidency.
“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.”
Matongo, 46, was sworn in as mayor following the July 9, death of Geoff Makhubo from Covid-19 related complications. A month later on August 10, Matongo elected as mayor unopposed.
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. pic.twitter.com/zmzGVFfAdA— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #RegisterToVoteANC (@CyrilRamaphosa) September 18, 2021
Matongo joined Ramaphosa, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and other City of Joburg leaders on the election campaign trail in Soweto on Saturday amid the voter registration weekend.
“Like all of us, he [Matongo] 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,” Ramaphosa said.
“The time we spent together has been rendered a priceless treasure given his untimely and traumatic passing. May his soul rest in peace."
The City of Joburg also confirmed Matongo's death in a statement.
By 10pm, tributes continued to pour in.
ANC JHB Regional Secretary Dada Morero confirmed that Matongo was killed in a car crash and that his bodyguards were in hospital.
“We can confirm that Matongo was killed in a horrific accident. A Nissan bakkie was trying to avoid a pedestrian then went into the mayor's car and an accident happened,” said Morero.
“He was enroute to his family home in KwaZulu-Natal after the campaign trail. The drivers as we speak are critical in hospital. An official statement with all the details will be released by the ANC later tonight or tomorrow morning.”
Morero passed his condolences to Matongo's family, friends and loved ones.
On Twitter, Economic Freedom Fighters Leader, Julius Malema, posted a screenshot of one of his previous Tweets in which he defended Matongo saying he grew up with him, adding: “I love you my brother, please greet our friend Castro More.”
I love you my brother, please greet our friend Castro More. pic.twitter.com/45wHJPvQRQ— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) September 18, 2021
ActionSA and former Joburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, said he was shocked to hear of Matongo’s sudden passing.
“My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues in the ANC. Politics must always come last in these moments. He was taken far too soon,” said Mashaba.
Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile wrote: “I am shattered” on his Facebook and Twitter timelines.
I’m shattered— Lebogang Maile (@LebogangMaile1) September 18, 2021
A City of Joburg employee said they were all still coming to terms with the loss of Makhubo and were shocked to learn about Matongo’s passing.
“We haven't even fully recovered from the former mayor’s passing. I hardly have any emotional capacity to process it,” she said asking to remain anonymous.
Matongo served the city as finance MMC and a long standing member of ANC, as a spokesperson for the Johannesburg region, the official said.
The Soweto-born Matongo was the sixth democratically-elected mayor of Africa’s richest city, Joburg.
Prior to his election as mayor, the son of a Zimbabwean migrant served as Joburg’s finance MMC under his predecessor, the late Makhubo.