Zim’s Jolidee Matongo now Johannesburg mayor

By Nkosana Dlamini

South Africa based Zimbabwean, Jolidee Matongo was Tuesday elected Johannesburg’s executive mayor, joining the growing list of Zimbabweans who have landed civic leadership positions on foreign territory.

Matongo, a member of South Africa’s governing ANC party, was elected unopposed in the 269-member council in which he was city Johannesburg mayoral committee member for finance.

The now civic leader of one of the most prominent cities on the continent was unambiguous about his Zimbabwean origins when he took oath of office.

“I, Jolidee Matongo, the son to the late Edward Matongo a migrant from Zimbabwe do hereby accept the nomination for the position of executive mayor for our city,” he said.

Matongo replaces Geoff Makhubo, who died last month from Covid-19-related complications at the age of 53.

His election ushers in a new narrative to a city whose former mayor Herman Mashaba was seen as an ardent hater of Zimbabwean migrants.

Mashaba was mayor of the city from 2016 to 2019.

Johannesburg has been the epicentre of fierce xenophobic attacks in the past.

Matongo is however not the first Zimbabwean to land a leadership position in foreign land.

In May this year, Zimbabwean-born Nicolle Nkazimulo Moyo was elected councillor for UK’s Peterborough’s Hargate and Hempsted ward on a Conservative Party ticket while Alice Mpofu-Coles was elected councillor for Whitley.

Former MDC official Elliot Pfebve, who was representing the Labour Party, lost in the same UK council elections in Short Heath ward.

Also in May, Zimbabwe-born Scottish politician, Maggie Chapman made history by becoming the first Scottish legislator to take oath in the European country’s parliament in the Shona language.

The 41-year-old lawmaker was born in Zimbabwe and despite relocating to Scotland, has maintained her links to Zimbabwe.

Chapman is a Member of Parliament of the Scottish Green Party representing North East Scotland.