eThekwini deputy mayor tells resident 'service delivery is not my job' in recorded phone call

2018-07-18 20:29
Deputy mayor for eThekwini Municipality Fawzia Peer. (Supplied, eThekwini Municipality)

Deputy mayor for eThekwini Municipality Fawzia Peer. (Supplied, eThekwini Municipality)

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A Durban resident has shared a voice recording of a heated exchange she had with eThekwini Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer in which she says: "Service delivery is not my job."

Reservoir Hills resident Ron Naidoo emailed a complaint regarding her issue with refuse lying around on the streets to Peer, Mayor Zandile Gumede and the municipal manager.

On Monday, she received a missed call and then a message from Peer to phone her back.

When she did, she recorded the conversation.

News24 has a copy of the recording.

In it, an angry-sounding Peer asks: "What is the problem… do you have a ward councillor?"

When Naidoo responds yes, Peer cuts her off and says: "What is the job of a ward councillor... you elected a DA councillor who sits at home doing bugger all."

When Naidoo responds that the previous ANC councillor had done nothing, Peer says: "I am not bothered about him. He is not my councillor. He is not my son. I am for myself."

She says: "Service delivery is not my job. I have 115 wards to worry about. I am the deputy mayor. I have come to Reservoir Hills concerning crime. Now there is no crime there, not that the CPF (community policing forum) has told me about."

She repeats that the local councillor was a "DA councillor".

"He is not my councillor… If he was an ANC councillor, we would remove him if he is not doing his job."

Naidoo responds that the councillor is doing his job "but he is being cut off at the knees because he is DA".

Peer says: "That is not my problem. Don't put me in the picture."

When Naidoo says she had watched a video of Peer talking about service delivery, Peer responds saying: "I was talking holistically. He (the ward councillor) has a bloody job to do. Why must I do his job for him?

"I am the chairperson of security… I do all that. I can't pay attention to service delivery.

"Don't pick me out. I am warning you. You write to the mayor about me, one woman to another."

Naidoo then says: "I don't care about me being a woman. The community needs help from the government."

To which Peer responds: "If your community needs help, sit down with your councillor. I am out of it."

'Another threat'

Approached for comment, Peer said while some of the concerns raised in Naidoo's email were legitimate and "I truly empathise with her frustrations", she had failed to take into account due process and protocol.

"The DA councillor elected to oversee her ward should provide adequate services to the people who elected him. He should be her first point of contact for service delivery issues.

"Failing which, the residents of her ward and herself, should submit a proposal to the speaker's office formally advising of his failure to comply by executing his duties as elected."

She said, while her office had spearheaded many service delivery initiatives, including some in Reservoir Hills, security topped the list of priorities.

"I open our doors of communication and urge Naidoo to provide my office with all correspondence between her councillor and herself regarding the concerns she's raised, in order to investigate these accusations."

With regards to the recording, Peer said she believed it was possibly illegal to record telephone conversations without notifying the other party.

"I have also communicated with the office of the speaker, the unprofessional manner with which some elected officials have spread malicious audio recordings without clarifying information or providing adequate context. This is highly unacceptable."

DA eThekwini chief whip Thabani Mthethwa said the party had reported Peer to the speaker for violating the code of conduct for councillors which required councillors to act in good faith and with honesty, credibility and integrity.

He said Peer had been "belittling" towards Naidoo during the conversation. In WhatsApp messages about the exchange, Peer also accused DA councillor Chris Pappas of spreading the recordings, calling him a "little brat" and saying that he will be 'fealty' (sic) with.

"We presume this means he will be dealt with, which is another threat."

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