I will stand for mayor again, says Dan Plato
Cape Town - The election of Dan Plato as chairperson of the DA metro region paves the way for him to stand as mayoral candidate ahead of next year’s municipal elections and has sparked talk of continued divisions within the party.
Speaking to the Weekend Argus on Saturday after the announcement of his win over rival and former incumbent Grant Twigg, Plato said were the party to tap him for the position, he would be willing to stand.
With party heavyweights such as interim leader John Steenhuisen and Helen Zille coming into town to cast their votes, Plato emerged victorious along with the majority of the candidates he had hand-selected and dubbed “Dan’s Team”.
This included the election of JP Smith and Phindile Maxiti as two of the three deputy chairpersons. Twigg supporter Zahid Badroodien was elected as the third deputy chairperson.
Plato said he was looking forward to uniting the party to working towards a win for next year’s elections and moving away from contestations.
Plato said: “It is all systems go for next year’s local government elections and we must ensure we focus on the needs of voters, that issues of clean governance stay a priority, that we are corruption-free and don’t steal money from the City’s budget.
“People must not misinterpret contestation and turn it into something it’s not. Grant was a good competitor, a friend, a colleague and I have great respect for him and would congratulate him on how he fought for this.”
Asked if his appointment would mean he would agree to stand as the party’s mayoral candidate next year, Plato said: “I would be willing to stand if the party chose to nominate me.”
Twigg, in conceding the race, said he accepted the outcome and congratulated the elected members. However, tensions have been brewing in the council after Twigg survived a motion of no confidence against him last year.
Earlier this month, Plato denied claims that he was behind a plot to sideline Twigg supporters through motions of no confidence.
Provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, who previously endorsed Twigg, said he was looking forward to unity in the caucus and an end to the use of frivolous motions of no confidences to settle political scores.
“We don’t have to like each other before we work together towards a common goal. People must rise above petty issues,” he said.
“With motions, it does not mean that people don’t have a right to call for them but it cannot be the first attempt at resolving issues and that people won’t use it as a tit-for-tat or to settle scores.”
He also cautioned against slate politics in the selecting of certain candidates as prepared running mates. “Voters need the opportunity to freely vote for candidates they feel will do the job, not as a package pre-selected by someone as their preferred group. That is what I do not agree with.”
Opposition leaders dismissed Plato’s election as detrimental to the DA.
“If you elect a character like Dan Plato, as a leader of a Metro ... it means you are not taking Cape Town Metro seriously,” said the ANC Western Cape interim leader Lerumo Kalako.