Close relatives, friends and colleagues paid their last respects to former Johannesburg mayor Mpho Moerane at a memorial service in Alexandra on Friday.
On Wednesday, Moerane succumbed to the injuries he sustained during a car crash two weeks ago. It was reported that he was on his way from Alexandra to his home in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg, when the collision happened.
Moerane was appointed as mayor after the passing of Jolidee Matongo, who died in a car accident during the local government election campaign in 2021.
“Comrade Mpho leaves us at a particularly difficult time. He joins two of his predecessors [who also passed away and left behind] the responsibility of leading the city of Johannesburg in a period over a year,” said Sankara Kennedy, speaking on behalf of the ANC Youth League.
Kennedy said Moerane had told the league to wait one week before he would solve all its problems towards the party’s Gauteng elective conference.
Moerane was in the running to become the ANC Johannesburg chairperson. The regional conference was postponed for a second time following his accident.
“All the leaders and all the comrades that are left, we are begging you to please do not divide the movement. We are humbly requesting that in your processes and engagements, let us salvage the remainder of the ANC,” Kennedy pleaded.
Mike Mongwe, Cosatu chair of the Johannesburg cluster, paid tribute to the former mayor and said the Moerane family should not let “African conspiracies” and suspicion divide them.
“This is a time to celebrate the life of comrade Moerane and his spirit,” he said.
As the party awaits the regional conference, Mongwe hoped that the leadership of the ANC which will emerge would deal with challenges that affect workers.
Molly Dhlamini, a representative of the SA Communist Party, expressed hope that conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of politicians would come to an end.
Speaking on behalf of the Greater Johannesburg district, Dada Morero, a friend of Moerane, apologised to his late friend for allowing politics to get in between them.
Moerane’s first name “Mpho” means “gift”, and Morero said the late mayor was indeed a gift to his family, friends, the ANC and the greater Johannesburg community.
“You were the handsome one, the nicest and happiest one in Johannesburg. Some even called you the yellow bone of Johannesburg” he joked.
To Fikile Moerane, the wife of his friend, he said: “My friend truly loved you. You were his world. Your story is not known to many, but your story kept him alive. Fikile, you were always in his mind. When you were sad, his world was sad.”
And to Moerane’s children, Tshepo, Kutlwano and Neo: “Your daddy loved you. You guys taught him the meaning of life.”
Moerane will be laid to rest in Alexandra on Sunday.