President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday afternoon that the tragic death of Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo is a frightening reminder to all South Africans remain “extremely vulnerable” to the threat of COVID-19.
Ramaphosa passed on his condolences to Makhubo’s family, and said that the terrible loss is a severe blow to South Africa’s efforts to combat the deadly virus.
Ramaphosa sends condolences to fallen Mayor’s family
Ramaphosa said in a statement on Friday that Makhubo had frequently urged the public to comply with COVID-19 safety measures and the national lockdown regulations since his diagnosis last month.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and comrades of the late mayor Geoff Makhubo,” he said.
“The passing of Mayor Makhubo is a stark reminder of the threat posed by this deadly pandemic against which we are all extremely vulnerable.”
“Since he received his own diagnosis in June this year, Mayor Makhubo regularly posted public health messages urging people to take responsibility for their own safety and that of others.”
Spokesperson urges lockdown compliance
Ramaphosa said that the timing of the Johannesburg Mayor’s death significantly hinders the country’s fight against the pandemic.
“Losing Councillor Makhubo at such a difficult time for the City of Johannesburg and the country is a blow; our thoughts and prayers are with the family and with his colleagues at this difficult time,” he said.
Makhubo’s spokesperson, Mlimandlela Ndamase, confirmed the news earlier on Friday, and urged the public to heed the fallen civil servant’s call for vigilance.
“Joburg residents are urged once more to take all necessary precautions to remain safe and to avoid infection. This includes strict adherence to non-medical practices of wearing masks, sanitising regularly and minimising movement in line with the Level 4 restrictions,” Ndamase said.
Makhubo ‘a loyal and committed servant of the people’
Gauteng Premier David Makhura said that Makhubo was a “loyal and committed servant of the people”.
“In all the roles he has served in, he placed the wellbeing of the people above everything else- a true servant of the people,” he said in a statement earlier on Friday.
“We are shaken by deep sadness and feel the excruciating pain of losing Mayor Makhubo. l send my heartfelt condolences to the wife, Mrs Dikeledi Makhubo, children, close relatives, friends and comrades of Mayor Makhubo,” Makhura said.