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Peer committed to the city

Loyalty and hard work have finally paid off for veteran eThekwini Municipality councillor, Fawzia Peer, whose wealth of experience in local government affairs saw her elected as the city’s first female deputy mayor last week.

Peer, a labour expert specialising in conflict resolution, has been in the local government sphere since 1994 where she served in local government and negotiating forum.

Driven by the quest to improve the living conditions of the poor, Peer says she intends to use her position to empower women and the poor.

“I will once again commit myself to serving our great city and to uplift the quality of life of all our people, especially the poor and the disadvantaged,” she said.

A recipient of several awards, including for good governance and community development, Peer said her new role was proof that women can reach the top if they work hard.

“To the women in eThekweni it means that in politics and other spheres of life women are asserting themselves and putting to rest the myth that they are not capable, to hold their own, in domains that have traditionally been the preserve of men.

“If you work hard and lead with integrity, people will support you whether you are a male or a female,” she said.

Alongside newly elected eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede and council chief whip, Nelly Nyanisa, Peer is part of the city’s first women-led council leadership team that will control the metro’s R40bn budget for the next five years.

Peer said the appointment of women in top positions was evidence that society now appreciated the role of women.

“Society is becoming more honest and balanced in acknowledging the roles that women play in society.

“Women are being recognised as human beings. I believe the more women we have in governance, the more we will see the face of democracy change,” she said.

In her inaugural speech, Zandile Gumede outlined 43 priorities for the new council ranging from housing to clean governance.

“We have to collectively ensure that all those items which the mayor pinpointed must be executed without delay,” Peer said.