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Dan Plato ditches DA over policies and Palestine, joins Marius Fransman’s new party

Dan Plato ditches DA over policies and Palestine, joins Marius Fransman’s new party
Former DA mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato at the People's Movement for Change media briefing at Waves Theatre Café in Cape Town on 13 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Misha Jordaan)

A seasoned politician with two stints as Cape Town mayor, Dan Plato has left the DA to join Marius Fransman’s new party.

Former Cape Town mayor and MEC for community safety, Dan Plato, has left the DA to join the new kids on the block, the People’s Movement for Change (PMC). 

Former ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman leads the PMC, which last month announced it would be contesting the upcoming general elections.

dan plato fransman pmc

Dan Plato (standing, left) and Marius Fransman (standing, right) at the People’s Movement For Change media briefing at Waves Theatre Café in Cape Town on 13 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Misha Jordaan)

The party recently welcomed well-travelled politician Sammy Claassen to its fold. Claassen is also a former DA member who has spent time with the Patriotic Alliance and the Good Party.

Plato served as Cape Town’s mayor from 2009 to 2011 and returned for a second stint from 2018 to 2021. At the time of his resignation, he was a member of the Western Cape legislature for the DA. He is also a former National Party councillor.

Plato first served as Cape Town mayor when he took the reins from Helen Zille after she moved to the premiership of the Western Cape. The second occasion was in 2018, after the chaotic departure of Patricia de Lille.

At the time Fransman led the provincial ANC, he accused Plato in 2013 of having links to gang bosses while he was serving as MEC of safety and security.

‘DA has changed’

On Tuesday, Fransman announced that Plato would join his new party, with another seasoned politician formerly from the DA, Ayesha Abrahams.

In a PMC statement, Plato said he had decided to part ways with the DA, citing concerns about the party’s departure from its original mandate to champion the interests of the poor and working class.

“The DA has moved away from its commitment to serving the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. The party seems to be stifling voices that do not align with a certain cabal, and critical outreach programmes designed to benefit the poor are being cancelled in the City of Cape Town and Western Cape government.”

Plato further expressed disappointment with the DA over its stance on Israel’s war in Gaza.

“The DA’s suppression of pro-Palestine voices within the party is deeply troubling. This stifling of diverse opinions not only contradicts the principles of justice and equality. As someone dedicated to upholding the rights of all, I believe in fostering open dialogue on critical global issues, and the DA’s current stance on the Palestinian question is incompatible with those values.”

Rumours of Plato’s resignation began making the rounds on Tuesday morning with DA insiders saying the party had decided not to include him on the party list to return to the provincial legislature after the upcoming elections.

Plato’s resignation comes after several high-profile members left the party, including Ghaleb Cachalia and Khume Ramulifho.

DA leader John Steenhuisen has dismissed the resignations as “silly season”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ramulifho ditches DA, citing critical party inconsistencies, and sets sail with Rise Mzansi

Party lists

Plato initially butted heads with DA leaders when they refused to appoint him as mayor of Cape Town in 2021. DA insiders say the 63-year-old was asked not to contest the mayoral candidate position and instead take up a seat in the provincial legislature, which he declined.

He lost the internal contest to the current mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis. 

Plato argued that during his two terms as mayor, he was a caretaker mayor who came into office during the middle of a term. He said he wanted a full term to carry out his vision for the city.

After losing the contest, and with the backing of some senior DA members, Plato made his way to the provincial legislature to fill the seat left by Bonginkosi Madikizela who resigned after a Daily Maverick probe revealed that he did not have a BCom degree, as he claimed. 

Now, with elections around the corner, DA insiders say Plato was aware that he would not make the party list to return to the provincial legislature.

He denied this when asked for comment, saying party lists were not yet public information.

DA Western Cape leader Tertuis Simmers said the party accepted Plato’s resignation. 

“We thank him for his years of service, both to the DA and at different levels of government. We wish him well in his endeavours.”

PMC builds line-up

Fransman was delighted to welcome Plato, saying the PMC was the right home for him since the party “unapologetically advocates for a free and liberated Palestine”.

“Dan’s commitment to social justice aligns seamlessly with our values and we look forward to working together to put people at the centre of power.”

PMC could be a serious contender in the upcoming elections, especially in the Western Cape. Nceba Enge, the Western Cape deputy chairperson of the SA National Taxi Council, serves as the party’s secretary-general.

Enge was a member of the Alliance for Transformation for All (ATA), a political organisation founded in 2018 to lobby for the interests of the taxi industry. The ATA failed to gain any seats in the 2019 general elections.

The PMC also has Apostle Moosa Joshua Mohlala as one of its leaders. He is an influential pastor in Cape Town townships and the party’s second deputy president. Mohlala was flirting with the EFF before emerging as a PMC member. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    I’m not sure how your move will benefit anyone in Palestine but if you truly care about the people of your country Dan, you are making a big mistake.

    Divisive opposition politics is NOT what South Africa needs and plays right into the hands of the incumbent parties that will destroy South Africa for your loved ones.

  • Dr Know says:

    The DA table is losing legs, playing right into the hands of the ruling party to topple the opposition. This is the very worst time to play musical chairs no matter how apparently moral your reasons may be. Step 1 is to get a rational and semi-non-corrupt administration to replace the high speed train smash that is the ruling party. Save the drama for the next election. Any posing or fawning about at this stage risks blowing this last chance, as any real politician would surely know.

  • Rob Fisher says:

    It would be good for the DA in the Western Cape to dump the bullies, thugs and gangsters in the party.
    Also good for the Western Cape to have opposition parties to keep the DA honest. Just not this bunch of losers.

  • David Bristow says:

    Lovely to see the crooks and incompetents all gathering in rats and mice parties. As mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato achieved …. nothing. Compare that to new Super-Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis. Plato was basically kicked to touch by the DA, but where do they find these idiots?!

  • Steve Marks says:

    Pelastine is far away from the cape flets. Spend your energy et home. Ya better for you.

  • ST ST says:

    This could be another example of SA politicians (individuals or parties) failing to read the SA room’ hence the daily sprouting of parties. Personal whims (not meaning to minimise people’s values) seem to be at odds with the bigger picture. It could also be that the DA is not reading and or managing its own room well given that it continues to haemorrhage leaders…

  • Wayne Gabb says:

    Dont think you could go any lower Dan- joining that bastion of ethics Fransman.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    This is a non-issue. It is one small, ineffective loser swopping parties. Goodbye to a loser.

    • D Rod says:

      Actually it is not. DA is really tone-deaf and VERY far from their original classic liberal ideas. They will still get my vote, because there is no other real thinking alternative, but they are really doing their best to be a forever minority, opposition party.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      Unfortunately Glyn, this is a symptom of a much larger problem – Mbali Ntuli, Phumzile van Damme, Mmusi Maimane, Herman Mashaba, Lindiwe Mazibuko, Ghaleb Cachalia, Khume Ramulifho and more – it’s not just one loser, it’s a series of senior black leaders abandoning the party. And 90% of politics is perception: if your party is perceived by the majority to not be a welcoming home for black people, it will NEVER in a million years win the next election. That has been the DA’s greatest singular fault in the last 30 years, and is, IMO, the reason why the ANC remain in power to this day…

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        I agree – the challenge in my opinion is that many black African “leavers” are also acutely aware of this, and join looking for a “fast climb” in the DA. When they discover that the DA is a meritocracy (as all our parties should be) and that they won’t automatically be propelled to the top, they leave.

        Being a meritocratic party in South Africa is HARD, but I for one am very pleased the DA sticks to its guns.

      • Balisa Finca says:

        No lies detected

  • Denise Smit says:

    He will definitely be more at home with Marius Fransman taking into consideration history of all who joined.

  • Greeff Kotzé says:

    “At the time Fransman led the provincial ANC, he accused Plato in 2013 of having links to gang bosses while he was serving as MEC of safety and security.”
    “Fransman was delighted to welcome Plato, saying the PMC was the right home for him [and] ‘Dan’s commitment to social justice aligns seamlessly with our values…'”

    Vintage Fransman.

    Oh, and on the topic of Palestine & Israel, it seems that perhaps the DA should have done the polar opposite of what they did: make it known (loudly) that they are encouraging all leaders and party members to speak their conscience about the conflict, while working towards building an official party consensus on this emotive issue, and reminding all South Africans that continued dialogue is the best way forward, both here and abroad.

    That way not have made much difference in the number of party defections in the elections run-up, but it would have given the divorcées one less stick to beat the DA with.

  • Andikho Krelekrele says:

    Whether DA likes it or not – they are losing senior members, whether good or bad, and it is hitting headlines and these ex members are taking other DA members with them. What I have seen is that DA could even lose outright majority in Western Cape.
    This started with Ms Zille coming back as Chair, and the appointment of Steenhuisen as leader after getting rid a Maimane. A number of, especially senior “Black and Brown” leaders, have since left. The two DA leaders have not been good for the party, and it can be expected that they will lose more members before the election. They have lost me…Quo vadis DA?
    Quo vadis DA?

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      They have lost my vote for the exact same reason.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Let me ask you both a simple question:

      Do you make your political choices based on reliable power, clean water, working roads, good schools, a home, an income and a growing economy? Or do you consider physical attributes of people more important?

      If it’s the latter, our country is in serious trouble, and ipso facto you are too.

      If it’s the former then you can only vote DA.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Plato has been in more Parties than even de Lille….. has the same sort of whiff too!

  • Change is good sa says:

    Dan Plato is moving, because in a small party he has the possibility of being in a closer to the big prize of the top job if the ANC get a coalition together, as has happened in Johannesburg.
    Nothing more, nothing less.

  • D Rod says:

    It is sad to see how tone-deaf is DA and how it self-destructs. I have always voted for them, but honestly, they are SA champions of shooting themselves into foot. On automatic setting…

  • Art Gee says:

    Should call it “The 2 x Crooks” party!!

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Another Patric Mckenzie,nomadic politician

  • Iam Fedup says:

    They all seem rather portly. Eating too greedily at the table of corruption, perhaps?

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