Dan Plato was elected as Cape Town’s new executive mayor during a special council sitting yesterday. Plato was elected by a majority, receiving 146 out of 208 votes in council. Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - One of Cape Town mayor Dan Plato’s first tasks will be to recruit more metro police officers for gang-ravaged areas.

Plato was officially installed as the city’s mayor during a special council meeting on Tuesday, where he won with 146 votes - mostly from members of the DA.

“They cannot replace the role of the police, but I will make sure that the city does what it can and plays its role when it comes to making our communities safer,” Plato said.

He said the deployment of a focused anti-gang unit was welcome, but pointed out that there were far fewer officers for the city compared to the rest of the country.

“Now that we have the specialised gang unit, I want to see it become a permanent function of the police in this province and in this city. I will be watching closely and if that gang unit is removed I will be the first to call for its return. With regard to the low levels of policing in this city, 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 one police officer for every 560 people,” he said.

“In some communities, such as Nyanga, this number jumps to one police officer for every 628 residents.

“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,” Plato said.

He said the need for housing closer to the city centre would also be one of his focal points.

“Many of our residents need adequate housing but the rapid urbanisation experienced in Cape Town is made even more challenging due to the legacy of apartheid spatial design.

“Our integrated development plan is clear - the city’s municipal spatial development framework must address the fragmented and inefficient regional and metropolitan spatial form that has resulted from apartheid. Our residents need housing where job opportunities are available,” he said.

“We need to use every cent of our available housing budget, and we need to make sure that the right processes are followed from the beginning so that we can avoid unnecessary delays.”

Plato said the tourism sector, worth about R24billion, was of great importance to the City.

“Tourism continues to be a major employer, with more than 217 000 jobs created in the Western Cape, many in Cape Town.”

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Cape Argus