Dan Plato

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Dan Plato

Dan Plato.jpeg
Plato in 2019
Mayor of Cape Town
Assumed office
6 November 2018
DeputyIan Neilson
Preceded byIan Neilson (Acting)
Patricia De Lille
In office
12 May 2009 – 1 June 2011
DeputyGrant Haskin
Ian Neilson
Preceded byGrant Haskin (acting)
Helen Zille
Succeeded byPatricia de Lille
Western Cape Provincial Minister of Community Safety
In office
1 June 2011 – 31 October 2018
PremierHelen Zille
Preceded byAlbert Fritz
Succeeded byAlan Winde
Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament
In office
1 June 2011 – 31 October 2018
ConstituencyCity of Cape Town
Personal details
BornDaniel Plato
(1960-10-05) 5 October 1960 (age 58)
Cape Town, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Political partyDemocratic Alliance (2002-present)
Other political
National Party (1990-1997)
New National Party (1998-2002)

Daniel "Dan" Plato (born 5 October 1960) is a South African politician who is currently serving as the Mayor of Cape Town since 6 November 2018. He previously held the position from May 2009 until June 2011. From 2011 to 2018, he served as a Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament and Western Cape Provincial Minister of Community Safety.

Born in Cape Town, Plato was involved in political activities during his high school career. He was a community organiser and played a crucial role in mobilizing residents against the Apartheid government. He was elected a ward councillor in 1996. In May 2009, he was elected Mayor of Cape Town. He succeeded Helen Zille, who in turn, was elected Premier of the Western Cape.

In 2011, the Democratic Alliance nominated Patricia de Lille to be the party's Cape Town mayoral candidate ahead of the 2011 local government elections. Plato left office on 1 June 2011. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille reshuffled her Provincial Cabinet and appointed Plato to the position of Provincial Minister of Community Safety, succeeding Albert Fritz. He was sworn in on 1 June 2011.

In August 2018, he declared his candidacy to succeed Patricia de Lille as Mayor of Cape Town. He was selected by the Democratic Alliance in September 2018. Plato resigned both as Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in late October 2018. He was sworn in as a councillor on 1 November 2018. He was elected Mayor on 6 November 2018.

Early life and political activities[edit]

Activities prior to the Cape Town City Council[edit]

He has been involved in political activities since high school, particularly in Cape Town's northern suburbs. As a community organiser, he played a major role in rallying people against the apartheid regime. In the mid-1980s, he worked in the Emergency Services Unit of the former Bellville Municipality (Tygerberg Administration), and he became the Cape Town Chairperson of the South African National Tuberculosis Association during the mid-1990s.

Cape Town City Councillor[edit]

In 1996, Plato was elected a ward councillor for Belhar, Uitsig and Ravensmead. He served two terms as Chairperson of the City of Cape Town's Economic Development, Tourism and Property Management Portfolio Committee.

From 2006 to 2009, he managed the housing portfolio in the Mayoral Committee. During the same period, he was Deputy Chairperson of the DA Metro Region and DA Caucus in the City of Cape Town. He had also served as acting Executive Mayor at various intervals. Shortly before being elected Executive Mayor in May 2009, Plato had taken over as the Mayoral Committee Member responsible for Service Delivery and Economic Development.[1]

Other activities[edit]

In addition to his political activities, he has served on the boards of a wide variety of organisations, including the Cape Film Commission, Cape Tourism, the University of the Western Cape and the Business Opportunities Network, and has been a member of multiple community-based trusts and has done campaign work for HIV/AIDS, women's rights and youth development.[2]

First term as Mayor of Cape Town[edit]

Plato at the handover of the Cape Town Stadium.

Election as Mayor[edit]

Plato was elected mayor of Cape Town in May 2009, when Helen Zille resigned to become Premier of Western Cape. He won with 119 votes to the ANC's candidate Belinda Landingwe's 69 votes. Six councillors abstained. He was inaugurated on 12 May 2009.[3]


During his tenure as mayor, controversial open-air toilets were built in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. The Democratic Alliance defended its decision to build the toilets. The Western Cape High Court later ruled against it.[4]

Under his leadership, Cape Town hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a host city. He banned the old South African flag from being present at soccer matches at the Cape Town Stadium after he described the flag as being detrimental to the image of the country.

Also, Cape Town was rated by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs as the best-managed city in South Africa. The city was estimated as the best city in providing basic services. Cape Town was also South Africa's number one tourist destination. The Auditor-General awarded the city with a rating for good governance and accountability.[5]

Plato introduced many job creation projects and made reducing unemployment one of the many focus points of his mayoral agenda.

In 2010, Plato announced his candidacy for the post of Provincial Leader of the Democratic Alliance. He lost to incumbent Theuns Botha. He received 123 votes compared to Botha's 543 and Lennit Max's 317.[6]


In 2011, the Democratic Alliance announced that Patricia de Lille would be their candidate for the upcoming municipal elections. He left office on 1 June 2011.

Provincial Minister for Community Safety[edit]

Judge O'Regan and Adv. Pikoli (centre table) with Dan Plato and Helen Zille (left table) at the Khayelitsha Commission handover ceremony.


In May 2011, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille reshuffled her Provincial Cabinet and announced that Plato was appointed Provincial Minister for Community Safety, succeeding Albert Fritz. She said in a statement: "I am confident he will make a major contribution, not only to the community safety portfolio but to the provincial cabinet as a whole."

He took office on 1 June 2011.[7]


In late 2011, Plato was present at a signing of a peace treaty between two rival gangs in Hanover Park, the Americans and the Mongrels. The Hanover Park Community Policing Forum reported in May 2012 that the peace treaty had ended.[8]

In mid-June 2012, Plato said that some Western Cape police officials support the reinstatement of specialized gang units since there had not been a police gang conviction in Hanover Park for more than three years. He said that the South African Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa does not favour the re-launch of the units, but he will keep on asking the Minister for the reinstatement. Meanwhile, Mayoral Committee member Jean-Pierre Smith said that the City of Cape Town's own gang unit had indeed been effective.[9]

He also said that he was concerned about the police not making any further arrests relating to ATM bombings in the Western Cape.[10]

Also in June 2012, Plato stated that he was eager to help the South African Police Service (SAPS) stabilise communities with high levels of gang violence in Cape Town.[11]

A suspected thief was attacked and killed by Du Noons residents in July 2012. Plato responded by wanting to meet with Du Noons leaders. Plato visited the community of Lavender Hill in Cape Town. He met with residents and said that it would take a number of years for the gang violence issue to be resolved.[12][13]

In September 2012, Plato and the Provincial Ministry of Community Safety called for the reinstatement of specialised gang units. Plato had stated earlier the year that some provincial police officials favoured the re-established. Premier Helen Zille had written to President Jacob Zuma in July 2012, requesting that the South African Army should be deployed in gang-riddled communities. The Presidency denied her request.[14]

Also in September 2012, the Community Safety Department was one of four departments to get clean audits from the Auditor-General of South Africa. [15]

In December 2012, the Department of Police stated that it would counter the Western Cape Community Safety bill, if it was indeed passed in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament. The legislation would enable the Western Cape to monitor the police and establish an Ombudsman to probe service delivery complaints.[16]

In March 2013, Plato visited the Kosovo informal settlement in Nyanga to meet with residents and discuss their safety concerns.[17]

In July 2013, he called on the provincial police's top brass to intervene after a series of rape incidents involving police members occurred.[18] Also in July, the ANC alleged that Plato had co-operated with gang leaders in the province and called on him to resign immediately. The NPA later announced that they would not prosecute Plato.[19]

In November 2013, Plato launched the 16 Days of Activism campaign, aiming to end violence against women and children. During the campaign, he urged the public to report gender violence. Plato condemned the assault of a thief in Mitchells Plain.[20][21][22]

In September 2014, the Community Safety Department announced the establishment of a task team to reduce the number of illegal shebeens in Khayelitsha. Plato said that the request was made during the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing.[23]

In November 2014, the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum (JPF) called for more police officers to protect the community of Bonteheuwel and accused Plato of not holding follow-up meetings.[24]

In April 2015, Plato blamed substance abuse, along with poverty and police incompetence, as the reasons behind the Western Cape's rising crime rates. All these reasons were revealed in the Policing Needs and Priority Report.[25]

In May 2015, Plato had written to the acting police commissioner about claims that some police stations were not facilitated to effectively function during loadshedding. Many complaints were received about the switchboards being out of operation during the blackouts.[26]

In July 2015, he urged that the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) should create a new strategy to detect mob justice after two incidents of violence occurred in Cape Town.[27]

In September 2015, he criticized the Police Minister for not reintroducing gang and drug units. In May of the same year, Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko announced that he would be focusing more on the need to review specialized units, but later in a written reply Nhleko said that there was no intention of reinstating specialized units.[28]

In October 2015, Plato said that the rise of vigilante killings is a cause for concern. He also said that more is to be done in the addressing of the rise in mob justice attacks.[29][30]

In December 2015, he praised the police for arresting alleged killers in Ocean View after several people had been murdered in the area.[31]

In July 2016, he called for free and fair municipal elections, since some party members had been reported to be intimidated.[32]

In May 2017, he urged communities to co-operate and work to protect women and children, after he attended the funeral of Courtney Pieters in Elsies River.[33]

In August 2017, at a meeting in Paarl East, he severely criticized irresponsible Western Cape parents for neglecting their children and not taking enough action to prevent them from joining gangs and using harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs.[34]

In October 2017, he stated that killings can't be tolerated anywhere in the Western Cape after thousands of people staged a protest against farm murders.[35]

In February 2018, Plato welcomed the corruption conviction of Arno Lamoer and three other officials, saying that crime and corruption does not have a place in the police force.[36]

In October 2018, Plato announced that the Western Cape Provincial Government's offer of an R100,000, for any information that would lead to the arrest of train arsonists after many trains were set on fire at Cape Town railway stations, had not yet been claimed.[37]

Also in October 2018, he described the murder of prominent Cape Town advocate, Pete Mihalik, as an attack on the criminal justice service.[38]


In mid-October 2018, it was announced that Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, was in the process of finding Plato's successor as Provincial Minister.[39] On 19 October 2018, Zille announced that Alan Winde would succeed Plato.[40] He left office on 31 October.

Second term as Mayor of Cape Town[edit]

Candidacy and selection[edit]

In August 2018, Plato announced that he was a candidate to replace Patricia de Lille as Mayor of Cape Town after de Lille had announced that she would effectively resign on 31 October 2018.[41]

On 18 September 2018, the Democratic Alliance announced that Plato would succeed de Lille. He defeated many prominent candidates for the nomination, such as the Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament Sharna Fernandez, and Deputy Mayor of Cape Town Ian Neilson.


The African National Congress caucus in the Cape Town City Council was unimpressed that Plato was selected and described him as a "lousy" candidate for Cape Town Mayor. The party said that they would present their own candidate for mayor. The ANC Caucus later presented Xolani Sotashe as their candidate.[42]

The Western Cape African National Congress provincial branch's secretary, Faiez Jacobs, described Plato as being one of the most ineffective Provincial Ministers of Community Safety and said as quote: "Under his watch, he has both deliberately and negligently broken down community policing relations and co-operation."

The Nyanga Community Police Forum claimed that Plato had done nothing to improve the community of Nyanga during his tenure as Provincial Minister.

The activist group, Reclaim the City, alleged that violence and crime had increased on the Cape Flats while Plato served as Provincial Minister.[43]

The African Christian Democratic Party's Ferlon Christians described Plato as a "mediocre candidate" and said that "he has been in the legislature and all he does is blame the national government on issues of crime."[44]

Mayoral agenda and issues[edit]

Service delivery[edit]

Plato has emphasized that improving service delivery will be the main priority on his mayoral agenda. He has stated that he would use his knowledge that he acquired during his tenure as Provincial Minister of Community Safety to address the matter of crime and assist crime-plagued communities in Cape Town.[45][46]

Party infighting[edit]

On 1 October 2018, he said in an interview with News24 that he plans to resolve divisions in the Democratic Alliance's Cape Town City Caucus and that the current Mayoral Committee will be significantly reshuffled and expanded, meaning that more portfolios will be established.[47]

Cape Town rail system[edit]

Plato has widely criticized the Cape Town rail system stating that the system has collapsed. On 16 October, Plato went to the Mitchells Plain train station to endure what train commuters experience daily. He claimed that he had waited for an hour for a train to arrive at the station.[48]

Crime fighting and gang violence[edit]

On 22 October 2018, Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, announced that the Anti-Gang Intervention Unit had deployed in the various communities of the Western Cape experiencing high-levels of gang violence. The unit was formally launched on 1 November 2018. Plato had lobbied on various occasions for the reintroduction of the units.[49]

In late-October 2018, Plato spoke about the issue of gang violence in the many crime-riddled communities of the Cape Flats. He said that crime and gang violence can be suppressed if community members started taking action towards the issue. He also said that restraining crime in communities is not only a governmental responsibility but also a responsibility of the residents.[50]

In early November 2018, Plato promised to prioritize crime-fighting on his mayoral agenda.[51]

Swearing-in as councillor[edit]

On 1 November 2018, Plato was sworn-in as Cape Town City Councillor by Council Speaker, Dirk Smith. The day before the ceremony, Patricia de Lille, resigned as Mayor of Cape Town as she announced in August 2018 that she would resign on 31 October 2018.

A former acquaintance of Patricia de Lille, Brett Herron, resigned as Cape Town City Councillor after the ceremony along with many other councillors, in protest to the removal of Patricia de Lille and the mayoralty of Dan Plato.[52][53]

Endorsement from the provincial Democratic Alliance[edit]

On 3 November 2018, Democratic Alliance provincial leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, announced that the provincial council had endorsed Plato to become the Mayor of Cape Town. Madikizela also indicated that the council hopes that Plato will restore unity and stability to the Cape Town Democratic Alliance caucus.[54][55]

Election as Mayor[edit]

Plato was elected Mayor of Cape Town on 6 November 2018 during a special council sitting, receiving 146 out of 202 valid votes. Six ballots were spoilt. The vote was held via secret ballot. His main challengers were Xolani Sotashe from the African National Congress and Grant Haskin from the African Christian Democratic Party. Sotashe received 53 votes while Haskin got 3 votes.[56]


On 12 November 2018, Plato announced his new Mayoral Committee. Plato retained Jean-Pierre Smith and Xanthea Limberg from de Lille's Mayoral Committee, while the rest of the members were all newly appointed. He stated that the Committee will be restructured the following month. The African National Congress heavily criticized the members of the new Mayoral Committee.[57][58]

On 20 November 2018, it was known that the City of Cape Town municipality had signed an R1,3 Billion loan with the German Development Bank. The loan will be used to effectively deal with wastewater treatment.[59]

On 29 November 2018, it was announced that the City of Cape Town would lower water restrictions from Level 5 to Level 3. The changes came into effect on 1 December.[60]

On 5 December 2018, Plato went on a walkabout in the Central Business District of Cape Town. He spoke with business owners and informal traders. He emphasized the importance of forming partnerships to reduce the levels of crime in the city.[61]

On 6 December 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the creation of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Atlantis is an impoverished community with high crime levels outside Cape Town. The creation of the economic zone would mean that more investment and economic growth would come into the community. Plato was present at the announcement.[62]

On 13 December 2018, the Cape Town City Council approved Plato's plans to restructure the Mayoral Committee. Larger portfolios have been divided into separate portfolios while Area-based Oversight portfolio positions have been abolished. It was alleged that the Mayoral Committee would be "inflated" to reward all the councillors who criticized Patricia de Lille, though the number of members of the Mayoral Committee remained the same. Plato said that the revised Mayoral Committee will improve service delivery.[63]

On 23 December 2018, security company Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) controversially asked people, including the African National Congress Provincial Secretary Faiez Jacobs and his family and friends, to leave Clifton Fourth Beach, at around 20:00. The security company's request sparked outrage. Many protests and demonstrations, including the slaughtering of a sheep, took place in the week after the incident occurred at the beach. Various political parties and people alleged that the evictions were race-based, though Plato strongly denied these allegations and requested that an investigation take place.[64]

On 9 January 2019, Plato praised the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU). He described the implementation of the unit as a "success story" and said that the unit will help in stabilizing the city's rail service. Trains in the City of Cape Town have recently been set on fire by arsonists and due to the lack of trains, the service has become unreliable.[65]

On 11 January 2019, Plato and Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, engaged with learners and students at the Brown's Farm Library in Philippi.[66][67]

On 16 January 2019, Plato visited the City of Cape Town's municipal call centre and addressed the concerns of the city's residents.[68]

On 31 January 2019, Plato addressed protesters from the steps of the Cape Town Civic Centre, after the residents of informal settlements protested, due to the lack of basic amenities in the various communities. Plato promised that he and the city's Mayoral Committee would visit the settlements.[69][70]

On the same day, Plato announced that the city's Safety and Security portfolio, headed by JP Smith, would receive an additional R165 million rand towards the portfolio's budget.[71]

On 13 February 2019, Plato celebrated his first 100 days in office.[72]

On 17 February 2019, Plato made insensitive and xenophobic comments relating to immigrants in the Western Cape province. The Democratic Alliance initially supported Plato's stance, yet his comments were widely criticized by the African National Congress and other opposition parties.[73][74]


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  71. ^ City of Cape Town pumps R165m into safety and security. Retrieved on 1 February 2019.
  72. ^ Dan Plato says first 100 days in office were 'service delivery in action'
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  74. ^ DA leader supports Plato's stance on immigrants. Retrieved on 1 March 2019.