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Son of a Zimbabwean immigrant who is Joburg mayor defended after xenophobic attacks

by Staff reporter
11 Aug 2021 at 21:30hrs | Views
Johannesburg's new mayor - whose father was an immigrant from Zimbabwe - was described as "capable and fit" on Wednesday after anti-immigration activists criticised his election.

Jolidee Matongo was elected unopposed by Johannesburg councillors on Tuesday, replacing Geoff Makhubo who succumbed to Covid-19 last month.

In his acceptance speech, Matongo proudly announced his Zimbabwean roots stating: "I Jolidee Matongo, the son of the late Zimbabwean immigrant Edmond Matongo, do hereby accept the nomination for a position of executive mayor of our city."

Matongo's election triggered a volley of social media protests from anti-immigration activists who ignored that his mother was South African and he was born and bred in Soweto.

The hashtag #WeRejectMayorOfJHB was trending throughout the day as those in favour and in opposition sparred.

"I never thought I would see a day where a Zimbabwean is at the helm of Johannesburg. This is a hostile takeover by foreigners. We must stand up now," tweeted @Shokwakhe16.

Twitter user @MdavazoO threatened that "masses" would protest if the ANC does not recall Matongo.

"The ANC must do the right thing and recall this gentleman before the masses take to the streets," he wrote.

Matonga was born in 1975 in Soweto, a working class neighbourhood of Johannesburg, South Africa's commercial capital.

He holds a postgraduate degree in public management from Unisa, a diploma in public management, and a postgraduate diploma in management from the Milpark Business School.

He was a member of the Soweto Student Congress and the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) before moving on to serve as the regional head of communications in the ANC for eight years.

He served as a member of the mayoral committee on finance during Makhubo's short-lived tenure as mayor.

South Africa's transport minister Fikile Mbalula was one of the many who sprang to Matongo's defence.

"Johannesburg has a new mayor: congratulations to Jolidee Matongo for being voted unopposed by the JHB Council. The work of servicing the people of Johannesburg continues. He is capable and fit," Mbalula tweeted.

Africa's most industrialised nation, South Africa, is going through an economic downturn and rising jobless numbers. Unemployed locals have violently targeted foreigners – particularly black Africans – accusing them of taking up their opportunities.

Source - zimlive
More on: #Matongo, #Joburg, #Mayor