Plato names jobs, housing as priorities

Newly elected Cape Town mayor Dan Plato says he intends to make job creation and housing delivery his priorities.

“I would love to see us doing an awful lot more for the poor out there,” he told journalists on Wednesday shortly after he assumed the mayoral chain.

Plato, 48, steps into what he described as the “big shoes” of Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille, who was sworn in last week as premier of the Western Cape.

Cape Town is the only metro in the country not controlled by the African National Congress (ANC).

At a special council meeting on Wednesday morning, Plato won almost double the number of votes of the ANC candidate for the post, Belinda Landingwe.

In an acceptance speech, he paid tribute to Zille, who was in the public gallery, as a “remarkable person and leader”.

“As the singer Tina Turner would say, you are simply the best,” he said.

But at a media briefing afterwards, he said that he was “not Helen Zille”.

“People need to understand there is only one Helen Zille,” he said.

He had learned a lot from her style and way of doing things, and would be stupid not to build on her successes.

“But obviously I will build my own profile, my own style,” he said.

He said service delivery, and the provision of shelter in particular, was a “dramatic challenge” in the city.

There were over 100 000 backyard dwellers in the city, in addition to the numbers in informal settlements.

The city could not afford to deal with this by itself, and would have to do it in partnership with provincial and national governments.

Plato said he was under no illusions about the challenges that lay ahead and he understood how high the stakes were.

Over the past seven years, the city had seen increasing service delivery protests by communities.

“We know that citizens have been waiting for too long, for too many promises, made by careless leaders.

“I am not here to make big promises I can’t keep. I intend to be honest about what we can and cannot do.”

Plato said the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), which the DA has claimed is guilty of breaches of trust, was still a partner in the city government.

Asked whether ACDP deputy mayor Grant Haskin was going to be replaced, he said: “You force me into specifics, and I’m not going to allow you to do that.”However, he said that the mayoral committee had to be reconstituted, and that this would be finalised in the next two or three days. Earlier, in the council chamber, Haskin said his party fully supported Plato.

“We in the multiparty government ... are on the same hymn sheet. We are singing one song and will continue to do so,” Haskin said.—Sapa

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