Motsoaledi wants SAPS to investigate CT Mayor Dan Plato over refugee shelter

NEWS | 6 April 2020 2:20 PM | by Qama Qukula

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has lashed out at the City of Cape Town over the removal and relocation of refugees. Motsoaledi and Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille published a joint statement accusing city officials of being obstructive when it comes to relocating refugees who were removed from the Methodist Church in the CBD.

In their statement, the ministers slam mayor Dan Plato for allegedly reneging on the temporary housing arrangements made for the foreigners at Paint City in Bellville for the duration of the lockdown.

This after Plato released his own statement on Sunday claiming that the removal of the refugees from the church last week was premature and not in line with the City’s plans.

Plato says the church refugees were moved to the Paint City site by SAPS without the City’s agreement.

The mayor says the City’s plan was to move the group to Wingfield Military Base once the site was ready.

RELATED: Rev Storey left with mixed emotions after refugees removed from Methodist Church

However, Motsoaledi has lashed out at Plato for blaming the police and failing to honour his agreement with various officials.

The Home Affairs Minister claims that he has evidence proving that Plato had agreed to the use of the Paint City site before going back on his word.

Motsoaledi alleges that Plato is being controlled by the City’s mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.

He also alleges that Smith ‘calls the shots’ and overrides decisions taken by both the mayor and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

RELATED: Refugees living in CT CBD will be relocated to Wingfield Military Base – JP Smith

Motsoaledi says he will ask the police to investigate whether Plato has broken any laws in his handling of the matter.

The minister says he will also report the matter to Parliament’s portfolio committee as well as the Covid-19 Command Council.

I will have to report the matter to the police. The letter instructing police not to do their work, I believe, is illegal.

Aaron Motsoaledi – Home Affairs Minister

The Paint City site was identified by the Minister of Public Works and Mayor Dan Plato. They went together to identify it.

Aaron Motsoaledi – Home Affairs Minister

If JP Smith doesn’t want something to happen, it doesn’t matter what the Mayor or Premier says. He believes he can extend that influence to the national government. He believes that he can even instruct the President or the police.

Aaron Motsoaledi – Home Affairs Minister

Meanwhile, Smith says it’s racist for Motsoaledi to imply that he is Plato’s puppet master.

Smith insists that officials had agreed to relocate refugees to Wingfield Military Base and that Paint City was never a viable option.

He says he’s tired of being dragged into political spats and says the refugees will be moved from Paint City to Wingeflied in the next few days.

I think Minister Motsoaledi is a racist… He and several of his ANC colleagues have a consistent habit of trying to suggest that any person of colour who is not in their party does not have the agency to act on their own.

JP Smith, Mayoral committee member – Safety and security at City of Cape Town

It’s borderline hate speech… It’s the attempt at demonising white people who allegedly, in their minds, are behind every bid of wrongdoing.

JP Smith, Mayoral committee member – Safety and security at City of Cape Town

The meeting in the Premier’s office did not mention Paint City… We were going to move everyone to Wingfield… The only site that the national government was able to make available.

JP Smith, Mayoral committee member – Safety and security at City of Cape Town

The mayor is very much the boss.

JP Smith, Mayoral committee member – Safety and security at City of Cape Town

Listen to Minister Motsoaledi and JP Smith each engaging with Kieno Kammies: