Newly elected Mayor of Johannesburg, Jolidee Matongo has died in a car accident which occurred on Saturday September 18.
The 46-year-old politician who was elected a month ago, was returning from campaigning with South Africa’s president for voter registration in Soweto township ahead of local elections, when the accident happened.
Local media reported that his vehicle collided with a van while trying to avoid a pedestrian who had run on to the road. The pedestrian and the other vehicle’s driver also died, but Mr Matongo’s two bodyguards are being treated in hospital for their injuries.
Commenting on his death, President Cyril Ramaphosa 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.”
Mr Matongo who became a mayor on 10 August following the death of his predecessor from COVID-19 complications, is the son of a Zimbabwean migrant and has been a political activist in South Africa since the age of 13, campaigning against apartheid – a legalised system of racism that was in place at the time.
He was a member of the governing African National Congress (ANC), and was expected to be at the forefront of the party’s campaign to win Johannesburg – South Africa’s commercial capital – in local government elections due on 1 November.