24 July 2020 – Media Statement: Mayor Dan Plato’s lies and obfuscations find platform in City of Cape Town’s latest media release

Media Statement

24 July 2020

Mayor Dan Plato’s lies and obfuscations find a platform in City of Cape Town’s latest media release

The LRC is appalled and dismayed by comments attributed to Mayor Dan Plato in a City of Cape Town press release circulated today. The Mayor’s statements regarding the pending litigation between the SAHRC, Housing Assembly, and Mr. Bulelani Qolani, and the City and the South African Police Services are inflammatory, gratuitous and frankly defamatory of the LRC. It is unclear why the Mayor has calculatingly chosen to misinform the public and tarnish the reputations of the LRC and the SAHRC.

The facts are that this matter was originally set for hearing, on an urgent basis, on 15 July 2020 but was postponed by agreement to today, 24 July 2020. Despite all parties being ready to proceed today, the presiding judge was of the opinion that due to the nature of the application and the complexities of the case, a special allocation would need to be made and two judges appointed to hear the matter. The presiding judge stated that he would make a request to this effect from the Judge President. The learned judge then secured 20 August 2020 for a hearing on the interdict application.

All the legal representatives agreed to this date, and to set a date for Part B of the hearing for final relief on 6 and 7 October 2020. Neither the LRC nor our clients will be baited into arguing a matter that is before the courts in the media. However, it must be categorically stated that neither the LRC nor our clients seek an order to prevent the City of Cape Town or any landowner, from thwarting the illegal occupation of their property. This is simply not true. The city’s allegations or insinuations that the LRC incites or condones unlawful conduct are malicious and downright contemptuous. The City’s press release further insinuates that the LRC is somehow a litigant in these proceedings; once again these statements are false and misleading. The City’s strategy seems crystal clear in that they choose to
obfuscate their own wrongdoing and rather attack human rights defenders who seek to hold them accountable.

The LRC has an impeccable record, providing legal services free of charge in the public interest and a 41-year history of fighting oppression. Further, we have actively participated in laying the foundation of our constitutional democracy and daily, we work towards ensuring that the rights enshrined in the constitution are applicable to
everyone in South Africa.

The LRC, therefore, rejects Mayor Plato’s allegations with the contempt they deserve. We demand an immediate retraction and a public apology.

Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
Media Enquiries:
Cell: 068 584 2442 / Email: thabo@lrc.org.za