The City of Johannesburg’s mayor, Jolidee Matongo died in a car crash on September 18, aged 46.
Matongo had been campaigning hours earlier with President Cyril Ramaphosa in Soweto. Before the ill-fated car crash on Saturday evening, Matongo had been mayor for a little over a month. He was elected unopposed in August. Matongo replaced Geoff Makhubo, who died from Covid-19 complications in July.
Ramphosa said it was hard to comprehend this tragedy, after the passion and energy Matongo had earlier in the day. Ramaphosa said the loss was palpable, and deprived Johannesburg of its second mayor in two months. Matongo had been looking forward to the upcoming local government elections, and was mobilising people to get their voices heard, Ramaphosa said.
Matongo’s VIP bodyguards were injured in the car crash and are still recovering in hospital. Matongo had been travelling with them, after the voter registration event. A pedestrian a driver of another vehicle involved in the crash died on Sunday.
Matongo was a long-serving member of the ANC, and served the city in various capacities. Several politicians paid tribute to him, saying Johannesburg is poorer without Matongo. One of Matongo’s plans was to focus on youth unemployment, and skills development. Matongo said the city would permanently employ 10 young people for each of the 135 wards; creating 1350 permanent jobs.