Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo dies of Covid-19 complications, aged 53

Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo has died due to complications related to Covid-19. File photo.
Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo has died due to complications related to Covid-19. File photo.

The mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Geoff Makhubo, died on Friday of Covid-19-related complications, the city and provincial government confirmed. He was 53 years old.

Eunice Mgcina, acting executive mayor and member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for health and social development, said: “We had hoped that the executive mayor would beat the virus and return to work and lead the city as we face this pandemic that has devastated lives and livelihoods. Sadly, it was not to be.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife, daughters, mother and the rest of his family, friends and comrades.”

She said further details would be released later.

“The family has requested to be afforded privacy and space as they process the untimely passing of one of their own. Mourners are discouraged from gathering at the home of the executive mayor.”

Makhubo had been hospitalised on July 3, after being diagnosed with the coronavirus late last month.

He had assumed the position of mayor in June 2019.

Gauteng MEC for human settlements, urban planning and Cogta, Lebogang Maile, said: “On behalf of the Gauteng provincial government we extend our heartfelt condolences to the Makhubo family, his colleagues in exco and his organisation, the ANC.

“Mayor Makhubo dies at a time where the City of Johannesburg was accelerating service delivery in communities, especially in poor and working-class communities.

“We are saddened about Mayor Makhubo’s death. This is a huge blow for local government, not only in Johannesburg, but provincially as a whole. He was a very disciplined and committed servant, who was dedicated to the service of the people.”

The MEC is expected to visit the Makhubo family to extend the government’s condolences.

Details of the memorial and funeral services will be shared once discussions have been finalised with the family.

Leah Knott, the DA's Johannesburg caucus leader, offered the party's “sincere condolences to the family and friends of the executive mayor, councillor Geoff Makhubo, who sadly passed away earlier from Covid-related complications”.

“We hope for peace and comfort for them in this difficult time.”

MMC member Margaret Arnolds of the African Independent Congress, also sharing her condolences, described Makhubo as “an exceptional leader”.

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, now ActionSA president, said: “In these difficult times, we are reminded of how fragile life can be and of our shared humanity. May Makhubo rest in peace in the comfort of his creator.”

The Kathrada Foundation said it was “a dreadful loss indeed. We extend our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”