Chamber welcomes Plato

Janine Myburgh, president, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the election of Dan Plato as the new executive mayor of Cape Town with the hope that this will end the bitter political feuds that have damaged the City’s reputation and undermined the work of the municipality.

I am delighted that Mayor Plato had promised in his inaugural address to continue the “open opportunity” City policy that he would seek to enable business to grow, create more jobs and a prosperous city for all.

I welcome his concern for the safety and security of people in a city where criminal gangs have far too much power. As a former Community Safety MEC, he understands the problem well and I can see why he has pledged to recruit more Metro police.

I was staggered to learn that Cape Town has only one police officer for every 560 people while the national average is one police officer for every 369 people. This tells us that we do not have our fair share of police resources, and it is no wonder that the gangs dare to execute “hits” in broad daylight in front of children and other witnesses.

It is not the municipality’s job to police the city but the fact is the police need help and it would be foolish to deny them.

Mayor Plato’s second big challenge is to get the City’s costs and large staff numbers under control. If more Metro police are to be employed, the money must come in savings from other departments. The municipality is a huge organisation, and it should have little difficulty in trimming costs if the will is there.

The third challenge will be to improve long-range planning for a dryer, hotter future and a changing electricity industry to ensure that we are not caught short again or have to deal with another threat of a day zero.

The chamber is proud to be part of the best city in Africa and I would like to assure the new mayor of the full support of business for the City council, even if this does include some constructive criticism.