Julius Malema, the leader of a South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has refused to support his countrymen who are opposed to the election of Jolidee Matongo as Johannesburg’s new executive mayor.
Matongo, whose father was an immigrant from Zimbabwe, was elected unopposed by Johannesburg councillors on Tuesday, replacing Geoff Makhubo who succumbed to COVID-19 last month.
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“Xenophobes” immediately took to social media to denounce Matongo’s election, saying they will not recognise “a foreigner”.
Posting on Twitter on Thursday morning, Malema distanced himself from the calls, which he described as nonsensical. He wrote:
We grew up with Jodilee Matango in the YL, and today, we are canvassed to reject him because his father was Zimbabwean.
I’m sorry, don’t count me in your nonsense. Politically we disagree, but he remains a black brother of mine.
Meanwhile, outspoken critic Advocate Ike Khumalo who was recently arrested on six counts of inciting public violence declared they will not recognise Matongo.
Speaking on South African broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Khumalo said foreigners must go back to their countries. Said Khumalo:
I blame officials, I blame foreign nationals, when they were free in their own countries in the 60s what were they doing not building.
They did not build roads, they come here and tell us we are lazy over things that we built during apartheid. Some of us lost our youth fighting in the streets.
When Oliver Tambo said make this country ungovernable in the 80s, we did not mean to liberate this country so that foreign nationals to come over and take this country. People must go back if they are not so lazy, go back and build their countries.
We should not be misled by the Geneva Convention, Israel is preaching liberalism but there are big borders protecting the country, Europe has Brexit and you have Donald Trump building walls.
Khumalo added that countries with people enjoying public services in South Africa should be made to pay.
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 the position of executive mayor of our city.