KNYSNA NEWS - Knysna mayor Mark Willemse is recovering at home after suffering a heart attack during a run last week.
The 54-year-old mayor's wife Dalene said this week her husband is still feeling very tired, but happy to be home following the traumatic experience which led to his admission to the Life Bay View Hospital in Mossel Bay where cardiologists performed an angioplasty.
Dalene said she received a call from her husband after he had left home to go for his regular run, to inform her he was not feeling well.
"I rushed over to fetch him and when I arrived, I could see that he was not looking well at all," she said.
Rushed to hospital
Very concerned, she rushed her husband to the Life Knysna Hospital where doctors confirmed he had suffered a heart attack. From there he was transferred to Mossel Bay where doctors implanted a stent.
Dalene said the procedure was a success and he was discharged shortly thereafter and has since been recovering at home.
She said Willemse has been living an active life and that the incident has come as a massive shock for family and friends.
"He was generally healthy and active. Doctors also tested his blood pressure and cholesterol, which was all fine."
While the procedure was a success and doctors are happy with his progress, Dalene said, she is unsure when Willemse will resume his duties as mayor. "It is difficult to guess, but he is keen to get back to work. He just needs rest. He is very tired."
'Very stressful time'
According to Dalene, the last month has been a very stressful time for her husband and she believes the drama that unfolded contributed to his heart attack. "I have no doubt that it did."
Willemse survived a motion of no confidence by seven of his own DA caucus last month.
The motion was led by DA councillor Michelle Wasserman who in a statement said the action stemmed from among others Willemse's election as mayor after he voted with the ANC to oust former mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies last year. She said he was not "properly approved to do so" by the DA constitution which states that a public representative may not vote in a way that does not comply with how the caucus agreed to vote.
She also claimed several other factors played a role including the lack of political leadership, but the motion failed after 12 to seven votes were cast in his favour.
The mayor's wife said Willemse would have to undergo another procedure in three months, but that it is nothing to be worried about at this stage.
She thanked the Knysna community for their support during these trying times.
"We have been overwhelmed by messages and calls of support. We are very thankful for each and every one."
Willemse enjoyed similar support during the recent attempt to oust him as mayor, with a petition against the motion signed by about 1 000 individuals. Several of them also gathered in front of the council chambers before the vote to show their support.
Deputy mayor Aubrey Tsengwa, on behalf of the council, wished Willemse a speedy recovery. He said they have been overwhelmed by the outpour of well wishes received from the community of Greater Knysna.
"It just shows how popular mayor Willemse is with the town's residents. We need him back at the office but we need him to take care of himself at this stage," Tswengwa said.
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