Plato calls land and housing activists’ spying claims ‘nonsense’, Newsline

Cape Town – Claims made by land and housing activists that the City is using apartheid-style tactics to spy on them has been labelled “nonsense”.

Mayor Dan Plato said on Tuesday the allegation that the City was spying on NGOs which are “orchestrating land invasions in Cape Town and surrounds is both laughable and predictable”.

The response comes after a Cape Argus article on Monday, in which activists accused the City of illegally monitoring their social media usernames and building cases against them.

Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Buhle Booi said: “We heard about the files and keeping surveillance on activists on the live stream of the standing portfolio committee in the legislature, and we believe they are keeping these files to profile activists whom they think are ‘instigators’ of land occupations, and we refute that.”

Booi said they would file a complaint with the information regulator.

Plato responded: “Those with guilty consciences usually try to deflect attention from their own misdeeds.

“I can assure you that the City is not engaging in any spying tactics. This suggestion speaks more to the mindset of the accuser rather than the accused.”

The mayor said the City was engaged in legal action in an effort to uphold the rule of law and protect property in the City.

“In the course of any legal process, information is gathered about the opposing parties to respond to court papers and prepare a defence.

“All information available to the City is from public sources and freely available to anyone taking the time to look for it.

“The City stands by its information and comments made to the portfolio committee on human settlements,” Plato said.

“In fact, the groups making these allegations staged highly publicised land invasions of CBD properties earmarked for affordable housing and social upliftment. The facts of their pro-land invasions stance are public and for all to see.”

Cape Argus