Mpho Moerane Served Communities With Distinction.. Once again, the icy hand of death has snuffed out the luminous life of a gentle soul, our beloved comrade and colleague, our former Executive Mayor, Cllr Mpho Moerane.
On behalf of the Gauteng provincial government, I would like to convey our deepest condolences to the grief-stricken family and the movement to which Moerane was a loyal member.
Nothing could have prepared the family for the sudden departure of their husband, their loving father and the dependable pillar of the family. Nothing could have prepared the ANC and the City of Johannesburg to lose, within a period of ten months, three pre-eminent councillors who occupied the seat of mayor. This tragic loss is both incalculable and unprecedented.
It is moments like these that remind us of mortality and fragility. These moments force us to pose fundamental questions to ourselves: what is our purpose on earth and what responsibility do we have to others?
Moerane answered these two questions emphatically, loudly, and clearly in the way he lived his life. There is no ambiguity in the footprints he leaves behind.
We agree with Kofi Annan, when he said: “The world is not ours, the earth is not ours, it’s a treasure we hold in trust for future generations”.
Moerane’s practical life was a powerful statement that demonstrated the universal truth that we find purpose and meaning in our lives when we have responsibility to others, when we take it as our duty to serve. Our former mayor served communities with distinction.
Our hearts may be broken but our dreams are not. We have not run out of faith, hope and determination to build a transformed city that is based on inclusive urbanism and sustainable development. We have not run out of the will to fight for a better life and fix service delivery in government. The struggle continues!
He shared whatever he had with those who needed help and assistance. Everybody who knew Mpho Moerane will remember his spirit of generosity and collegiality. He took his duty to serve far beyond the realm of politics and public life.
Many Foundations and Trusts will tell you about his legendary fundraising skills that helped raise money for great developmental and charitable causes. Moerane did not only raise money for political campaigns. He supported fundraising initiatives of non-profit organisations and individuals who sought to make a difference in townships.
We are fortunate to have established a Charity Trust that has educated university students and supported young black golfers and soccer players from townships and villages in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. Mpho and his wife, Fikile, have worked tirelessly with my wife, Mpho, and other trustees to organise annual fundraising golf days. The funds raised from these golf days support young people from townships and rural areas to achieve educational advancement and to pursue sporting and artistic dreams.
This is the work of Mpho Moerane. He shared his skills, time, energy and generosity to push others to higher levels of ambition and achievement. So, his departure has left us heart broken. We are hurting and reeling with pain.
The Moerane and Nkosi family are distraught. The ANC is distraught. The city and the province are distraught and the country is poorer with his departure. Golfers are distressed. Many students he helped to raise funds for their education are distraught. Our city and our province have been struck by ten months of multiple tragedies, pain, and sorrow.
We have run out of words to express our pain. We have cried until there are no more tears left. We have run out of explanations as to why this is happening in our city and in our movement in Johannesburg.
The world is not ours, the earth is not ours, it’s a treasure we hold in trust for future generations
Let us make it clear: our hearts may be broken but our dreams are not. We have not run out of faith, hope and determination to build a transformed city that is based on inclusive urbanism and sustainable development. We have not run out of the will to fight for a better life and fix service delivery in government. The struggle continues!
We have not run out of energy and passion to clean our cities as Moerane’s #KleenaJoburg campaign was doing. The struggle continues!
We have not run out of energy and passion to fix the infrastructure, especially roads, water and electricity, something Moerane pursued with a great deal of urgency. The struggle continues!
Comrade Mpho Moerane taught us not to bear grudges, not to turn political differences and disagreements into personal hostilities! He lived a life that showed that he was a profound democrat, a peacemaker, and a reconciler to the core.
Learning from his practice of politics, we can be better leaders by remaining civil and handling intra-party and inter-party debates and disagreements with forbearance and tolerance. No blood must be shed in our parliament, legislatures, and council chambers because of differences. No blood must be shed when there are leadership contestations within parties.
We must respect differences and never forget our humanity. We must also rid our politics of the tendency to resort to violent polemics, rhetoric, and theatrics. We must defend even those with whom we disagree with. That is the meaning and consequences of democracy.
As politicians, we must always remember that the city, province, and our country do not belong to political parties. These institutions belong to the people – the law-abiding residents and citizens of our motherland. They belong to future generations, and we are just entrusted to look after the treasure that we call SA.
Moerane was a man of action. He was always in a hurry. No time was spared or wasted in pointless debates. He wanted problems to be solved and progress to be made in the shortest space of time. He worked as if he knew that he would be gone very soon.
In his short time as a councillor, MMC and mayor of Joburg, he demonstrated enormous energy and passion to solve the core problems of the city.
This was a man on a mission. He wanted Johannesburg to be a clean, inclusive, business-friendly, crime-free, and welcoming world-class Afropolitan city with good infrastructure that offers a great quality of life for all residents, regardless of race, class, gender, religion, geographic location, or place of origin.
All those who have come into the personal orbit of Moerane appreciated his love for Johannesburg and his determination to get the city to work. His attention to detail and depth of technical knowledge about the delivery entities and departments of the city was very laudable and impressive.
He focused on getting things done. He made things happen wherever he was deployed or assigned. He turned service delivery into his art form; the art of getting things done was how he expressed himself. And getting things done is one of the greatest challenges of our country’s democratic governance.
Comrade Moerane was a soldier who died at the service of his city and his people, fighting to have a cleaner and greener, a more inclusive city with a growing and transformed economy that places townships at the centre. His dream to build a post-apartheid SA and a post-apartheid city will continue to live long after his body has faded.
In the five decades of his life, he worked for his dream and made a huge impact in the lives of many people. He understood that whilst we are all imbued with the revolutionary spirit, none of us is indispensable. For him those who carry on the fight will plant other roses when he is alive no more.
Makhura is the premier of Gauteng province