New mayor Plato vows to beef up policing in Cape Town

Cape Town City manager Lungelo Mbandazayon presents Dan Plato with the mayoral chain of office. Picture: @CityofCT/Twitter
Cape Town City manager Lungelo Mbandazayon presents Dan Plato with the mayoral chain of office. Picture: @CityofCT/Twitter

The Democratic Alliance’s Dan Plato, who was re-elected as Cape Town’s new executive mayor today, has said that one of his priorities was to beef up policing in the city.

Plato was elected during a special council sitting, receiving 146 votes out of 208.

His election came after Patricia de Lille resigned last Wednesday as mayor as well as a member of the Democratic Alliance. A number of DA councillors also resigned in support of De Lille after her announcement: Suzette Little, Siya Mamkeli, Greg Bernardo, Thulani Stemele, Brett Herron, and DA chief whip Shaun August.

Read: 5 Cape Town councillors leave the DA, claiming racism

This will be Plato’s second term as mayor. He previously held the position between 2009 and 2011 when he took over from Helen Zille, who had become the Western Cape premier. He was the Western Cape MEC for community safety prior to the election.

The other nominees for mayor were the ANC’s Xolani Sotashe and the ACDP’s Grant Haskins, who received 53 and three votes respectively. Six ballots were reportedly spoilt.

Before the voting commenced ANC members raised a complaint over Plato’s swearing in as a councillor last week on November 1, days before the mayoral election.

“We are supposed to be impartial in terms of what we’re doing. Now you have already communicated a predetermined outcome. Why did you do that as the speaker of the council?” ANC’s mayoral nominee Sotashe asked Dirk Smit.

“Councillor Sotashe, because of common sense,” Smit replied hastily before any more delays could ensue.

After receiving the mayoral chain‚ Plato said that one of his priorities was to beef up policing in the city, vowing to recruit more members into the metro police and pressuring national government to give Cape Town more police officers.

“We cannot allow a situation where in the rest of the country there is one police officer for every 369 people‚ but in Cape Town there is only 1 police officer for every 560 people. In some communities like Nyanga‚ this number jumps to one police officer for every 628 residents‚” he said.

If the national government does not urgently address this‚ we will take the legal route to force them to give our communities more police officers‚ because we are done asking nicely.
Dan Plato, executive mayor of Cape Town

Plato emphasised the importance of paying attention to the needs of communities and said that one of his first acts as mayor would be to conduct “listening tours” of communities in Cape Town.

He added that the city would “maintain a pro-poor” budget and provide housing for people closer to “where job opportunities are available”.

He also lauded citizens for their active roles in reducing water usage during the water crisis.

“We hope by next month to be in a position to reduce our restriction levels and the accompanying tariffs‚” he said.

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