Cape Town's Dan Plato has colourful history with informants, intelligence
A high-ranking police officer previously accused incoming Cape Town mayor Dan Plato of using public funds to pay informants and of conducting intelligence operations in his capacity as MEC for Community Safety in the Western Cape.
The head of the Western Cape's detectives, Major General Jeremy Vearey, believed Plato was using the informants to run a smear campaign against him, which Plato previously denied.
A criminal complaint, initiated by the ANC in the Western Cape, was also lodged against Plato in 2016.
Plato 'prioritises residents' safety interests'
Plato welcomed this at the time, saying his actions have always been aimed towards the best safety interests of Western Cape residents.
On Tuesday, Plato was announced as the new mayor of Cape Town. Plato will take over the position from Patricia de Lille, following extreme infighting, involving claims and counterclaims being exchanged among the City's top tier officials, which has rocked the City of Cape Town.
However, Plato's track record leading up to this is marked with several controversies.
In June 2016, Vearey was suddenly transferred from heading the province's detectives and he believed that this may have been partially because of the tension between himself and Plato.
Vearey approached the Cape Town Labour Court to have his transfer reversed and in an affidavit in the matter, he said the tension related to "false allegations" made by three individuals: Pierre Mark Wyngaardt, Pierre Theron and Sylvano Hendricks, a transgender woman who calls herself Queeny Madikizela-Malema.
"The publication of their false allegations were facilitated by the Office of the MEC without any process being used to test the truth of the allegations," Vearey's affidavit said.
Plato's office 'conducted intelligence operations'
"It appeared to me that the MEC's office was conducting intelligence operations in which informants were being paid from public funds for information they gathered and provided.
"I view the false statements as having been made by persons linked to gangs with a view of discrediting me."
Vearey, who had approached the Labour Court with Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs, who is now the head of Crime Intelligence nationally and who was also transferred within the police at the time Vearey was, were both successful in their quest to be placed back in the positions they had been moved from.
Claims, which Vearey believed formed part of a smear campaign, were made against him as follows:
- In a September 2012 affidavit, which was later leaked to the media, Pierre Mark Wyngaardt claimed Vearey was working with a gang boss' family alongside a politician.
However, when tracked down by the Weekend Argus publication in 2013, Wyngaardt told a reporter he was a prophet guided by angels.
In April 2016, following the surfacing of a voice clip of a conversation apparently between Plato and Wyngaardt, Plato confirmed to the Weekend Argus that he had had meetings with Wyngaardt.
- In an October 2015 affidavit, Pierre Theron claimed Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir had paid an array of high-profile individuals large sums of money.
Among these claims was that Vearey had received a total of R6m from Krejcir.
This affidavit was also leaked to the media.
Theron also had dealings with Plato and in an affidavit dated October 2013, he claimed that Plato had, between July 2012 and January 2013, paid him nine sums of money for information. But in May 2016, Netwerk24 reported that Plato said he had paid Theron money for medical care which Theron needed.
- In a February 2016 affidavit, Sylvano Hendricks alleged Vearey was in cahoots with an alleged Western Cape-based gang boss.
This affidavit was also leaked to the media.
A part of a stamp on the affidavit said "Department of Community Safety Western Cape", implying that the document was linked to Plato's department.
The affidavit by Hendricks related to the murder of Nathaniel Moses, the leader of a faction of the 28s gang called The Mobsters, who was fatally shot in Strand on January 15, 2016.
This affidavit resulted in Plato's name being brought up in the bail application centring around suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack and four of his co-accused who were charged with extortion relating to private security and a restaurant.
During the bail application, which ran in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court from December 2017 to February 2018, Bruce Hendricks, an attorney representing Modack's co-accused Colin Booysen, said Vearey was implicated in a murder in a statement made by Hendricks and which was made to Plato. Colin Booysen is the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome "Donkie" Booysen.
Charl Kinnear, the investigating officer in the extortion case, testified that he was aware of the allegation against Vearey, but said Vearey did not face arrest in the matter.
In 2013, Plato had approached the Public Protector with several allegations and these were then passed to the Hawks.
Dan Plato (Peter Abrahams, Son)
'Source lacked credibility'
According to a July 2013 press release by Director of Public Prosecutions in the Western Cape, Rodney de Kock, these allegations were "that a senior politician and a SAPS (SA Police Service) officer have involved themselves in various alleged criminal activities".
However, it was found that the source of the allegations could not be relied on.
"The source of the allegations is a witness who lacks credibility and whose version is unable to be corroborated in any respect," De Kock found.
"The DPP considers that the enquiry contains insufficient evidence to suggest that he should take any further steps and he has declined to do so."
In April 2016, the ANC in the Western Cape had issued a harsh-worded press release on the matter involving Plato and Vearey.
"Not only has Plato violated the rights of General Vearey by spewing forth vague and embarrassing untruths about him in public, but he has also violated the confidentiality of those who use him to peddle their agendas; no matter how untrue they may be," it said.
"The danger is that Plato sets himself up, by his own misfortune, for citizens to mistrust him in future for fear of their identity being revealed to suit the DA's narrow-minded political agenda."
'Welcome' criminal complaint
In May 2016, the Western Cape ANC also lodged a complaint with police based on how it had viewed Plato's actions.
It wanted to know whether anyone should be prosecuted for crimes including perjury or defeating the ends of justice.
Plato welcomed this and said the ANC's "half-truth concocted conspiracies" were an attempt to divert attention from how much members featured in affidavits supplied to his office.
"I welcome the ANC Western Cape's sudden interest in the rule of law, however misguided, through their actions today of opening up a docket for criminal investigation into me," he said in a statement at the time.
"Through these legitimate investigative authorities, the truth regarding the content of information, allegations and affidavits handed to me will be determined and anyone responsible for any illegal activity will have to face the full might of the law.
"My actions in office have always been above board, transparent and in the best interest of the safety of communities in the Western Cape."
No arrests were announced following the lodging of the criminal complaint by the Western Cape ANC.