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Clifton has become a political football, says Cape Town mayor Dan Plato

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato says the Clifton beach row is not about race.
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato says the Clifton beach row is not about race.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato has broken his silence on the Clifton beach furore by attacking “opportunists” trying to “drive a racial wedge in our society”.

Plato repeated the City of Cape Town’s condemnation of security company Professional Protection Alternatives, which he said had no authority to ask people to leave Fourth Beach at 8pm on Sunday.

However, “they asked people of all races to leave, and did not single out any race groups”, Plato said in a statement on Friday.

“It has also become clear that opportunistic political organisations have ignored this fact to drive a highly divisive and politicised racial agenda. Our beaches will always be open to everyone of all races, locals and visitors alike.”

Faiez Jacobs, secretary of the Western Cape ANC, was among those ordered to leave Fourth Beach, and Plato said: “Even though some political organisations will exploit any opportunity to drive a racial wedge in our society, this is something we must never allow.

“I am glad that the public have at least had the opportunity to become more informed about their rights, and that they understand that only authorised law enforcement officials, and not private businesses or members of the public, have any right to ask anyone to leave our beaches.”

Earlier on Friday, former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille criticised Plato’s silence since Sunday. “I’m appalled by the lack of leadership and accountability from Cape Town’s political leadership. They are absent,” she said.

“The reports we are receiving suggest that PPA was conducting law enforcement with the tacit approval of the city’s metro police.

“The city’s leadership needs to account for what happened, and if PPA were acting without an explicit or tacit arrangement with law enforcement then criminal charges need to be laid against them.

“If they were acting in terms of some arrangement then heads should roll.”

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