eThekwini Municipality’s acting mayor Fawzia Peer. File picture: Doc/GCIS.
eThekwini Municipality’s acting mayor Fawzia Peer. File picture: Doc/GCIS.

Findings of acting eThekwini mayor’s water ‘poisoning’ not released

By wendy jasson da costa Time of article published Jul 21, 2019

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Durban - Almost a month after someone allegedly tried to kill acting eThekwini Mayor Fawzia Peer during a full council meeting by poisoning her water, eThekwini Municipality has yet to publicly announce the results of their investigation into the matter.

Despite repeated requests for information the city said it needed more time before it could reveal any details related to the case.

Municipal Speaker William Mapena said: “Because of the nature of the matter and its coverage in the media in the past few weeks, and that I am still awaiting a report on the matter which is to be submitted to the council, I am therefore unable to respond in detail to the questions.”

Mapena said the report was expected to come from various administrative officials responsible for the co-ordination of the Council meeting and would be processed by him. The city’s communications unit also appealed for “space to deal with this sensitive matter”.

On June 27 Peer took a sip from the bottled water supplied by the council’s catering team. Minutes later she rushed out and the Speaker announced that the water appeared to be laced with paraffin. 

As the drama unfolded it emerged that Peer was admitted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital where she was treated for poisoning. 

Peer said the contents of the bottle had burnt her lips and the inside of her mouth. The water was sent to a municipal lab for analysis. When approached for comment Peer referred all questions to Mapena since he had sent the water for testing.

Since the alleged poisoning Peer’s security was tightened and she no longer consumes the food and drinks supplied by the municipality.

Violence monitor Mary de Haas said Peer’s fear was not unusual as many people who were involved in politics often feared that they would be poisoned.

She also described eThekwini Municipality as riddled with factions and lacking in transparency. “It’s extraordinary. There should be a full public statement because she is a public figure.”

De Haas said the Council should explain why it had not sent the water to a private lab for testing because the results would have been available within three days. 

Peer was expected to be in the mayoral hot seat for the foreseeable future after the KZN ANC leadership extended the forced leave of eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede. In May she appeared in court on fraud, corruption and racketeering charges and was released on bail of R50000.

Sunday Tribune

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