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Tributes for late councillor


Tributes are continuing to pour in for African National Congress councillor Nonhlanhla Lettie Mthembu, who died suddenly during the City of Johannesburg’s inaugural council meeting at the Johannesburg City Hall on Monday August 22.

Cllr Mthembu died after experiencing breathing problems a few hours after being sworn in for the new five-year council term following the local government elections on August 3. Democratic Alliance’s Cllr Herman Mashaba was elected Executive Mayor of Johannesburg during the council sitting.

Cllr Mthembu suddenly collapsed during the election process and was rushed to hospital by paramedics.

The announcement of her death was made by ANC councillor and former Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Geoffrey Makhubo during the council meeting, which was attended by 270 councillors, officials, politicians and members of the public. Popularly known as “Black Diamond” and “Stompi”, Mthembu was born in Soweto on 3 April 1966.
She attended school both in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

While a learner, Mthembu joined the Congress of South African Students and received her political education from the likes of the late former Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka and activist Ephraim Nkwe.

In the 1980s she took part in the activities of the Mass Democratic Movement, an umbrella body of anti-apartheid political groupings that sought to render the country ungovernable.
She was detained several times for her political activism. Mthembu joined the ANC as a volunteer in 1993 and has served as a councillor until her sudden passing on Monday. Newly elected Executive Mayor Cllr Mashaba expressed his party’s heartfelt condolences on Mthembu’s passing.

“To the ANC, your loss is our loss. May her soul rest in peace,” Mashaba said.

Economic Freedom Fighters’ leaders Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Dali Mpofu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi conveyed their messages of condolences to the family on Twitter. United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa also conveyed his party’s condolences to the ANC, the City of Johannesburg and the Mthembu family.