Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has rejected calls to remove the new Johannesburg Mayor Jodilee Matango because his father was an immigrant from Zimbabwe.
Matongo was sworn in as Johannesburg mayor on Wednesday. He replaced Geoff Makhubo, who succumbed to Covid-19.
At the swearing-in ceremony Matango said he was the son of a Zimbabwean immigrant.
The comment sparked angry reactions from some sections of the political landscape, with some declaring they could not be led by a foreigner.
However, Malema said he grew up with Matango in the African National Congress Youth League and considered the new mayor “a black brother of mine”.
“We grew up with Jodilee Matango in the YL, and today, we are canvassed to reject him because his father was Zimbabwean,” said Malema in a Twitter post.
“I’m sorry, don’t count me in your nonsense. Politically we disagree, but he remains a black brother of mine. “
Joburg Speaker Nonceba Molwele had earlier clarified Matongo’s status as a South African.
“I want to put it into perspective that the executive mayor was born and brought up in the country. In Soweto, to be precise,” said Molwele.
The speaker said Matongo came up through different ANC structures that fought for the liberation of South Africa.
“He is not a migrant … He was born of a migrant. His dad was a legal migrant,” explained Molwele.
The new mayor was the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance before he was elected unopposed during a special council meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Matongo said he will pursue good governance to rid the metro of unauthorised, irregular, and fruitless expenditure.
The new mayor also wants to tackle the housing backlog to get rid of informal settlements in and around the city.