City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town is the metropolitan municipality which governs the city of Cape Town, South Africa and its suburbs and exurbs. As of the 2011 census, it had a population of 3,740,026.
The remote Prince Edward Islands are deemed to be part of the City of Cape Town, specifically of ward 55.


Cape Town first received local self-government in 1839, with the promulgation of a municipal ordinance by the government of the Cape Colony. When it was created, the Cape Town municipality governed only the central part of the city known as the City Bowl, and as the city expanded, new suburbs became new municipalities, until by 1902 there were 10 separate municipalities in the Cape Peninsula. During the 20th century, many of the suburban municipalities became unsustainable and merged into the Cape Town municipality or combined with other suburbs; but at the end of apartheid in 1994 the metropolitan area was still divided up into several separate municipalities.
As part of the post-1994 reforms, municipal government experienced a complete overhaul. In 1996 the Cape Town metropolitan area was divided into six municipalities – Cape Town/Central, Tygerberg, South Peninsula, Blaauwberg, Oostenberg and Helderberg – along with a Metropolitan Council to oversee the whole metropolitan area. At the time of the 2000 municipal elections these various structures were merged to form the City of Cape Town as a single metropolitan municipality governing the whole metropolitan area. It is for this reason that the City of Cape Town is sometimes referred to as the "Unicity".
The current municipality covers Cape Point in the south-west, Somerset West in the south-east, and Atlantis in the north, and includes Robben Island.

Politics and government


Cape Town is governed by a 231-member city council elected in a system of mixed-member proportional representation. The city is divided into 116 wards, each of which elects a councillor by first-past-the-post voting. The remaining 115 councillors are elected from party lists so that the total number of councillors for each party is proportional to the number of votes received by that party.
The makeup of the council after the 2016 election is shown in the following table.
The speaker of the council is Dirk Smit of the Democratic Alliance.
The council is divided into 24 subcouncils which deal with local functions for between three and six wards. A subcouncil consists of the ward councillors and a similar number of proportionally-elected councillors assigned to the subcouncil. A subcounil is chaired by one of the councillors and appoints a manager to run its day-to-day business. A subcouncil does not have any inherent responsibilities in law, but it is entitled to make recommendations to the City Council about anything that affects its area. The City Council may also delegate responsibilities to the subcouncils.


The executive authority for the city is vested in an Executive Mayor who is elected by the council. The mayor appoints a mayoral committee whose members oversee various portfolios. A City Manager is appointed as the non-political head of the city's administration.
With the Democratic Alliance having won an absolute majority of council seats in the election of 3 August 2016, its mayoral candidate Patricia de Lille, who has served as mayor since 2011, was re-elected. She later resigned in October 2018 and the party designated Dan Plato to be their mayoral candidate to replace her. The current executive Deputy Mayor is Ian Neilson and served as Acting Mayor of Cape Town until Plato was elected.
The Mayoral Committee consists of 10 members who are appointed by the Executive Mayor. Each member manages a different area of the local government. The committee of Patricia de Lille disbanded when de Lille resigned. Acting Mayor Ian Neilson managed an interim committee. Plato appointed a new committee when he was sworn-in. The structure was later revised in December 2018.
Deputy Mayor and FinanceIan Neilson
Community Services and HealthZahid Badroodien
Corporate ServicesSharon Cottle
Economic Opportunities and Asset ManagementJames Vos
Energy and Climate ChangePhindile Maxiti
Human SettlementsMalusi Booi
Safety and SecurityJ P Smith
Spatial Planning and EnvironmentMarian Nieuwoudt
TransportFelicity Purchase
Urban ManagementGrant Twigg
Water and WasteXanthea Limberg

The current city manager is Lungelo Mbandazayo. He had been the acting city manager since the former city manager Achmat Ebrahim, who was appointed in April 2006, resigned in January 2018 amid misconduct allegations. He was formally appointed city manager in April 2018.
The local municipality was one of the four to have passed the 2009-10 audit by the Auditor-General of South Africa, who deemed it to have a clean administration.

Electoral history

The City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality in its present form took shape after the 2000 municipal elections. The old Central Cape Town MLC council had been governed by the New National Party, but they were losing support to the African National Congress and the Democratic Party. Fearing further losses, the NNP agreed to contest the upcoming local election in December 2000 together with the DP by forming the Democratic Alliance, with DP and NNP members running as DA candidates. The DA won Cape Town with an outright majority, and Peter Marais, also a senior member of the provincial NNP, became mayor of the unicity. However, DA leader Tony Leon's attempt to remove Marais from his position in 2001 caused the disintegration of the alliance, and NNP came to ally with the ANC. Marais was replaced as mayor by Gerald Morkel, but Morkel was himself soon ousted during the October 2002 local floor crossing period after a large number of DA councillors had defected to the NNP. Nomaindia Mfeketo of the ANC became mayor supported by an ANC-NNP coalition. In 2004, after a dismal showing in the general elections that year, the NNP prepared for dissolution and merger with the ANC, and most of its councillors joined the governing party. This gave the ANC an outright majority on the council, which lasted until the next election.
In the 2006 local government election, the DA was the largest single party, ahead of the ANC, but with no party holding a majority. The new
Independent Democrats led by Patricia de Lille was in third place. The African Christian Democratic Party initiated negotiations with five other smaller parties who together formed a kingmaker block of fifteen councillors, collectively known as the Multi-Party Forum parties. Despite the ID voting with the ANC, Helen Zille of the DA was elected executive mayor on 15 March 2006 by a very narrow margin with the support of the Multi-Party Forum. Andrew Arnolds of the ACDP was elected executive deputy mayor and Jacob "Dirk" Smit of the Freedom Front Plus was elected speaker. The initially fragile position of this new DA-led coalition, also known as the Multi-Party Government, was improved in January 2007 with the introduction of the ID following the expulsion of the small Africa Muslim Party for conspiring with the ANC. As a result of the ID's support, the coalition significantly increased its majority, resulting in a much more stable city government. The ID's Charlotte Williams became executive deputy mayor. However, she resigned just a few months later, and the post then went to Grant Haskin of the ACDP in late 2007. The DA would also bolster its position through by-election victories and floor crossing defections. With the ID and DA together holding a firm council majority, several of the smaller coalition partners were dropped from the city government by the time of the 2009 general elections, including the ACDP and FF+. The DA's Ian Neilson became deputy mayor, while Dirk Smit, who had defected to the DA, retained the position of speaker. Both still hold their positions. Helen Zille left the mayorship the same year to take up the position of premier of the Western Cape, and Dan Plato became mayor.
In 2010, the DA and ID formalized an agreement in which the ID would merge into the DA by 2014. This was prompted in part by the ID's disappointing result in the 2009 general election. As per the agreement, ID ceased to exist at the local level after the 2011 municipal elections with ID members running as DA candidates. DA won a large outright majority in the election, and ID leader Patricia de Lille, who had defeated Plato in an earlier internal election, became the new mayor. The party extended its lead even further to win a two-thirds majority of the seats on the City of Cape Town council in the 2016 municipal elections, and De Lille was thus sworn in to serve a second term. It was however cut short following her resignation on 31 October 2018 after an extended battle with her party over accusations of covering up corruption, accusations she strongly denied. The previous mayor Dan Plato was chosen as her successor.
The following table shows the results of the 2016 election.


Group2001 Census%2011 Census%ChangeChange in %
Coloured48.12%42.39% 5.73%
Black African31.69%38.63% 6.94%
White18.75%15.66% 3.09%
Indian or Asian1.43%1.38% 0.05%
OtherNo Data1.93%n/a n/a
Total population100.00%100.00% 29.31%


The municipality has a total area of 2455 km2.

Main places

The 2001 census divided the municipality into the following main places:
PlaceCodePopulationMost spoken language
Blue Downs150,431Afrikaans
Brooklyn, Cape Town10941English
Cape Town827,218Afrikaans
Du Noon9,045Xhosa
Eerste River29,682Afrikaans
Elsie's River86,685Afrikaans
Fish Hoek15,851English
Gordons Bay2,751Afrikaans
Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve18Xhosa
Hout Bay13,253English
Imizamo Yethu8,063Xhosa
Joe Slovo Park4,567Xhosa
Mitchell's Plain398,650Afrikaans
Robben Island176Afrikaans
Simon's Town7,210English
Sir Lowry's Pass Village5,766Afrikaans
Somerset West60,606Afrikaans
Remainder of the municipality14,498Afrikaans

Adjacent municipalities

The City of Cape Town is also bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west.