Cape Town. 130725. Dan Plato voicing a strong opinion over the youth being marginuilsed in Cape Town in Parliament today. Reporter Cobus Coetzee. Picture COURTNEY AFRICA

Cape Town -

The ANC has called for Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato to be fired after the conviction of a 28s gang boss from Valhalla Park, who they say Plato used to try to discredit senior ANC members.

Saliem John, the nephew of late drug lord and crime boss Colin Stanfield, was convicted this week in the Western Cape High Court under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act for criminal gang activity including murder, attempted murder and drug dealing.

The ANC used the opportunity to point out that Plato had interactions with the likes of John to obtain information that included allegations linking top police officers and senior ANC members in the province with gang activity.

The ANC on Thursday branded John a “close acquaintance of Plato”.

Plato has frequently been in the ANC’s firing line for his interaction and peace talks with known gang members.

Welcoming John’s conviction, the ANC’s spokeswoman on community safety, Dorothea Gopie, on Thursday called on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to stop ignoring the inevitable and sack Plato.

“The ANC calls on Premier Zille to stop ignoring the inevitable: That she erred by appointing MEC Plato, who is not fit for purpose in good governance, and that she must sack him immediately as Plato is an embarrassment to her government, the DA and the whole of the Western Cape province,” she said.

And John’s conviction did not vindicate Plato’s relationship with hardened criminals.

“It does not vindicate MEC Plato’s peace pipe smoking with gangsters that merely elevates criminals as so-called leaders of communities,” Gopie said.

Dismissing the ANC claims, Plato said the opposition party in the province was well aware that he had no affiliations with any gang bosses, but insisted on spreading lies and opposed every effort of the Western Cape government to make communities safer.

“Instead of wasting time on ANC lies I am rather focusing on continuing my work to engage the youth at risk – some of whom are gangsters – in the hope of turning them away from a life of crime and drug abuse,” Plato said.

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Cape Argus