City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town (Afrikaans: Stad Kaapstad; Xhosa: IsiXeko saseKapa) is the metropolitan municipality which governs the city of Cape Town, South Africa and its suburbs and exurbs.[citation needed][clarification needed] As of the 2011 census, it had a population of 3,740,026.

City of Cape Town

Stad Kaapstad (Afrikaans)
IsiXeko saseKapa (Xhosa)
City of Cape Town logo.svg
The City of Cape Town is located in the south-western corner of the Western Cape province.
Location in the Western Cape
Coordinates: 34°0′S 18°30′E / 34.000°S 18.500°E / -34.000; 18.500Coordinates: 34°0′S 18°30′E / 34.000°S 18.500°E / -34.000; 18.500
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceWestern Cape
SeatCape Town
 • TypeMunicipal council
 • MayorDan Plato (DA)
 • Deputy MayorIan Neilson (DA)
 • Total2,445 km2 (944 sq mi)
 • Total3,740,026
 • Density1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African38.6%
 • Coloured42.4%
 • Indian/Asian1.4%
 • White15.7%
First languages (2011)
 • Afrikaans35.7%
 • Xhosa29.8%
 • English28.4%
 • Other6.1%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Municipal codeCPT

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.[3] 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.[4] 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[vague] 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".[5]

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 governmentEdit


Seats in the city council after the 2016 election.

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.[6]

Party Ward PR list Total Percentage
Democratic Alliance 81 73 154 66.7%
African National Congress 35 22 57 24.7%
Economic Freedom Fighters 0 7 7 3.0%
African Christian Democratic Party 0 3 3 1.3%
Al Jama-ah 0 2 2 0.9%
African Independent Congress 0 1 1 0.4%
Congress of the People 0 1 1 0.4%
Cape Muslim Congress 0 1 1 0.4%
Democratic Independent Party 0 1 1 0.4%
Freedom Front Plus 0 1 1 0.4%
Pan Africanist Congress 0 1 1 0.4%
Patriotic Alliance 0 1 1 0.4%
United Democratic Movement 0 1 1 0.4%
Total 116 115 231 100.0%

The speaker of the council is Dirk Smit of the Democratic Alliance.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]


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 (DA) 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.[10]

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.

Portfolio Councillor
Deputy Mayor and Finance Ian Neilson
Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien
Corporate Services Sharon Cottle
Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos
Energy and Climate Change Phindile Maxiti
Human Settlements Malusi Booi
Safety and Security J P Smith
Spatial Planning and Environment Marian Nieuwoudt
Transport Felicity Purchase
Urban Management Grant Twigg
Water and Waste Xanthea 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.[11]

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.[12]

Electoral historyEdit

Helen Zille, former mayor of the City of Cape Town.

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 (NNP), but they were losing support to the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Party (DP). Fearing further losses, the NNP agreed to contest the upcoming local election in December 2000 together with the DP by forming the Democratic Alliance (DA), 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 (ID) led by Patricia de Lille was in third place.[13] The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) 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 (FF+) 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.[14] 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.[15][6]

Party Votes Seats
Ward List Total % Ward List Total
Democratic Alliance 831,890 832,624 1,664,514 66.6 81 73 154
African National Congress 302,965 305,902 608,867 24.4 35 22 57
Economic Freedom Fighters 40,243 38,871 79,114 3.2 0 7 7
African Christian Democratic Party 16,181 14,104 30,285 1.2 0 3 3
Al Jama-ah 9,506 6,892 16,398 0.7 0 2 2
African Independent Congress 5,228 9,515 14,743 0.6 0 1 1
Freedom Front Plus 5,365 4,919 10,284 0.4 0 1 1
Democratic Independent Party 4,049 3,472 7,521 0.3 0 1 1
Independent 7,077 7,077 0.3 0 0
United Democratic Movement 2,441 4,139 6,580 0.3 0 1 1
Cape Muslim Congress 3,073 3,386 6,459 0.3 0 1 1
Pan Africanist Congress 3,381 2,938 6,319 0.3 0 1 1
Congress of the People 3,175 3,015 6,190 0.3 0 1 1
Patriotic Alliance 2,943 2,016 4,959 0.2 0 1 1
Others 14,156 15,552 29,708 1.2 0 0 0
Total 1,251,673 1,247,345 2,499,018 100.0 116 115 231
Spoilt votes 14,777 17,954 32,731


Group 2001 Census % 2011 Census % Change Change in %
Coloured 1,391,859 48.12% 1,585,286 42.39% 193,427   5.73%  
Black African 916,459 31.69% 1,444,939 38.63% 528,480   6.94%  
White 542,435 18.75% 585,831 15.66% 43,396   3.09%  
Indian or Asian 41,490 1.43% 51,786 1.38% 10,296   0.05%  
Other No Data 72,184 1.93% n/a   n/a  
Total population 2,892,243 100.00% 3,740,026 100.00% 847,783   29.31%  


The municipality has a total area of 2455 km2.[16]

Main placesEdit

The 2001 census divided the municipality into the following main places:[17]

Place Code Population Most spoken language
Atlantis 17101 53,820 Afrikaans
Bellville 17102 89,732 Afrikaans
Blue Downs 17103 150,431 Afrikaans
Brackenfell 17104 78,005 Afrikaans
Brooklyn, Cape Town [1] 10941 English
Briza 17105 1,959 English
Cape Town 17106 827,218 Afrikaans
Crossroads 17108 31,527 Xhosa
Du Noon 17109 9,045 Xhosa
Durbanville 17110 40,135 Afrikaans
Eerste River 17111 29,682 Afrikaans
Elsie's River 17112 86,685 Afrikaans
Excelsior 17113 189 Afrikaans
Fisantekraal 17114 4,646 Afrikaans
Fish Hoek 17115 15,851 English
Goodwood 17116 48,128 English
Gordons Bay 17117 2,751 Afrikaans
Guguletu 17118 80,277 Xhosa
Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve 17119 18 Xhosa
Hout Bay 17120 13,253 English
Imizamo Yethu 17121 8,063 Xhosa
Joe Slovo Park 17122 4,567 Xhosa
Khayelitsha 17123 329,002 Xhosa
Kraaifontein 17124 57,911 Afrikaans
Kuilsriver 17125 44,780 Afrikaans
Langa 17126 49,667 Xhosa
Lekkerwater 17127 1,410 Xhosa
Lwandle 17128 9,311 Xhosa
Mamre 17129 7,276 Afrikaans
Masiphumelele 17130 8,249 Xhosa
Melkbosstrand 17131 6,522 Afrikaans
Mfuleni 17132 22,883 Xhosa
Milnerton 17133 81,366 English
Mitchell's Plain 17134 398,650 Afrikaans
Nomzamo 17135 22,083 Xhosa
Noordhoek 17136 3,127 English
Nyanga 17137 58,723 Xhosa
Parow 17138 77,439 Afrikaans
Pella 17139 1,044 Afrikaans
Robben Island 17140 176 Afrikaans
Scarborough 17141 723 English
Simon's Town 17142 7,210 English
Sir Lowry's Pass Village 17143 5,766 Afrikaans
Somerset West 17144 60,606 Afrikaans
Strand 17145 46,446 Afrikaans
Witsand 17146 2,405 Xhosa
Remainder of the municipality 17107 14,498 Afrikaans

Adjacent municipalitiesEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Contact list: Executive Mayors". Government Communication & Information System. Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Statistics by place". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  3. ^ Worden, Nigel; van Heyningen, Elizabeth; Bickford-Smith, Vivian (1998). Cape Town: The Making of a City. Uitgeverij Verloren. pp. 171–177. ISBN 90-6550-161-4.
  4. ^ Worden, Nigel; van Heyningen, Elizabeth; Bickford-Smith, Vivian (1998). Cape Town: The Making of a City. Uitgeverij Verloren. pp. 221–223. ISBN 90-6550-161-4.
  5. ^ "City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality". (Local Government Business Network). Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Seat Calculation Detail: Cape Town" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Executive Mayor & Mayoral Committee Membership List" (PDF). City of Cape Town. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  8. ^ Cape Town Sub-council By-law, 2003, as amended.
  9. ^ "Subcouncils". City of Cape Town. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  10. ^ "Mayoral Committee". City of Cape Town. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Auditor-General urges South Africa's mayors to lead the drive towards clean administration by 2014". Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Seat Calculation Summary: City of Cape Town" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2006. Retrieved 15 March 2006.
  14. ^ "Cllr. Grant Haskin elected as deputy executive mayor". City of Cape Town. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Results Summary – All Ballots: Cape Town" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  16. ^ "City of Cape Town". Municipal Demarcation Board. Retrieved 19 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Lookup Tables - Statistics South Africa[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit