/ 10 August 2021

Jolidee Matongo elected as Johannesburg’s new mayor

Jolidee Matongo
With local government elections just over a month away on 1 November, the ANC is unlikely to replace newly elected Johannesburg mayor Jolidee Matongo, who died in an accident on Saturday, mere weeks after the death from Covid-19 of his predecessor Geoff Makhubo.

The City of Johannesburg has a new mayor. The ANC’s Jolidee Matongo was elected during a special council meeting on Tuesday. 

Only one candidate was nominated for the council election, said the speaker, Nonceba Molwele. 

Matongo got the greenlight from the ANC’s top officials last week after a rigorous interviewing process of the three ANC candidates who had been selected by the regional executive committee

Taking a hardline during his debut media briefing shortly after he was elected, Matongo said officials who fail to do their work will be dealt with. 

“They will have to go and sit at home, if we have to sit at the labour court we will do so,” he said. “We are going to ensure that plans that are there will be implemented.” 

Matongo said he would continue the work of the late Johannesburg mayor, Geoff Makhubo, adding that the government has already been approved and would only be adjusted if the elections are postponed. 

Makhubo died of complications related to the Covid-19 virus.

“We will have to ensure we deal with the issue of land invasion. The alternative is on the table to provide people with sites,” adding that he would be a mayor who is on the ground with the people. 

Shortly before the council sitting, ANC regional secretary Dada Morero told the media that the party is confident that Matongo is equal to the task and will steer the city in the right direction to the benefit and satisfaction of the residents of Johannesburg.

“As an experienced public servant, Comrade Matongo has served the people of South Africa in various public sector spaces such as the position he held at the census project in 2001 as the national trainer, project manager for the Management Schools Training Programmes. He has worked as an operations manager at housing department at CoJ [City of Johannesburg], head of youth development programmes for the city, as well as the strategic adviser to the MMC of finance. Since 2016, Comrade Matongo has served as an ANC PR councillor and was appointed MMC of finance in 2019, a position he held until recently,” Morero said. 

Matongo holds a number of qualifications including a diploma in public management, a postgraduate degree in public management from Unisa and a postgraduate diploma in management from the Milpark Business School. He is pursuing his master’s degree in public management at MANCOSA.

The ANC, which relied on its alliance with smaller parties to take over the reins after it lost Johannesburg in 2016 to the Democratic Alliance-led coalition, said it enjoys good working relations with its coalition partners in the government of local unity. 

“These are party relations which are based on certain agreed principles that we still hold dearly and remain committed to. The ANC will therefore still be voting together with coalition partners and the party agreements between us and our partners will be retained as they were. We know, value and respect their commitment to service delivery and, as such, we are confident that our common interests of stability, service delivery and development will triumph,” Morero said. 

This comes after the government proclaimed 27 October as the date for local government elections to comply with the law. The government has indicated it will support the legal bid by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to postpone the vote to February next year as recommended by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke. 

Last month, the IEC received a 120-page report from Moseneke which recommended that the elections be postponed, because having them in October would render them unfree and unfair because of restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The IEC accepted the report.

The ANC has also supported the IEC, but deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said party structures are proceeding to prepare for elections through the development of the ANC elections manifesto and the selection of candidates. 

Duarte was briefing the media on the outcomes of the national working committee meeting last week. She said the process of candidate selection is being conducted under the auspices of the ANC electoral committee headed by former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. She said the process is designed to ensure maximum participation in the elections.

“In line with the decisions of the last NEC [national executive committee] the national officials are conducting interviews with candidates to fill vacancies for executive mayors of Johannesburg and Mangaung. These processes give effect to resolutions of the 54th national conference to introduce greater rigour and integrity in the process of selecting candidates to ensure the deployment of appropriately qualified, skilled and experienced members who uphold the highest values of integrity and selfless service to the people,” she said.