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Cape Town – Opposition parties have come out strongly against Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, accusing him of defying lockdown regulations by hosting the Mayoral Community Service Awards at the Civic Centre Banqueting Hall on Tuesday.
But Plato's spokesperson, Greg Wagner, refuted the claims, saying the physical event was cancelled and recipients collected their awards, adding that there was no sit down.
Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron said there were photos all over social media of satellite events that took place despite the disaster regulations that prohibit all gatherings, including social and political.
“The fact that the mayor says the dinner parties were cancelled and attendees were given the meals as takeaways simply confirms that these illegal events, constituting either social or political gatherings, took place and that is blatant defiance of the law.
“The mayor and the City broke the law and placed our path out of this hard lockdown in jeopardy. We will only beat this virus and begin our economic recovery when we stop transmission by adhering to the rules. The Mayor has set us back. He has undermined the livelihoods of all those sectors currently prohibited from trading,” he said.
ANC leader in Cape Town Xolani Sotashe slammed Plato as being “insensitive” with the current situation in the country.
“It's very insensitive for the people of Cape Town, when they need us the most on the ground, and we are locked in some luxurious places handing out awards.
“I do not downgrade the recipients but I think the timing is not right.
We will actually ask the minister to seek answers from the City of Cape Town because this is really uncalled for, and we hope that his party will see it the way we see it,” Sotashe said.
Wagner said: “The physical event was cancelled – a maximum of 50 guests were originally going to be hosted for a sit down dinner at the 24 sub councils, in line with level 3, but with the announcement of level 4, the event was cancelled.
Recipients collected their awards but there was no sit down dinner as originally planned, so instead the meal was provided as a take away dinner to those recipients who collected their awards.
The Mayor delivered a speech that was recorded and will be shared with residents and recipients of the awards soon.”
South African Human Rights Commission Commissioner André Gaum said restrictions pertaining to gatherings have generally been accepted as scientifically justified and constitutional (being justifiable limitations) and rarely challenged.