Johannesburg loses second mayor in two months

Tuesday September 21 2021
Jolidee Matongo

Jolidee Matongo, Johannesburg's mayor, died following a road crash. COURTESY | JOHANNESBURG CITY WEBSITE


Jolidee Matongo has become the second Mayor of Johannesburg to die in office within the space of two months.

Mr Matongo died on Saturday evening following a car crash in the city that left two of his aides hospitalised, while also claiming the life of a pedestrian.

After being sworn in as mayor on August 10, Mr Matongo, 46, had replaced his predecessor Geoff Makhubo who succumbed to Covid-19 on July 9.

Under the late Makhubo, Mr Matongo, a councillor, had served as a Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance.

Before his death, he spent the whole of Saturday with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on a voter registration campaign in Soweto, his birthplace.

“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,” President Ramaphosa said.


He added: "Nothing could prepare any of us for this sudden loss, which has deprived our nation’s economic centre of its second mayor in two months."   

He died at a time when South Africa is preparing for local government elections slated for November 1.

“Like all of us, he was looking forward to the forthcoming election...he had put his heart and soul into mobilising the people of the city to make their voices heard on November 1,” said President Ramaphosa.

A son of a Zimbabwean immigrant, Mr Matongo’s rise to become Johannesburg’s mayor was met with some xenophobic backlash from a section of South Africans.

He trended on Twitter for almost a week with some hate messages dominating social media.

Tributes continued to pour in for Mr Matongo including from opposition parties.

He lived in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, with his family.​