City of Cape Town

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This article is about the municipality. For the city itself, see Cape Town.
City of Cape Town
Stad Kaapstad
IsiXeko saseKapa
Metropolitan municipality
Official seal of City of Cape Town
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
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Seat Cape Town
Wards 111
 • Type Municipal council
 • Mayor Patricia de Lille (DA)
 • Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson
 • Total 2,445 km2 (944 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 3,740,026
 • Density 1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 38.6%
 • Coloured 42.4%
 • Indian/Asian 1.4%
 • White 15.7%
First languages (2011)[2]
 • Afrikaans 35.7%
 • Xhosa 29.8%
 • English 28.4%
 • Other 6.1%
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
Municipal code CPT

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. As 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.[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 Administration 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.


Cape Town is governed by a 221-member city council, which chooses the executive mayor, who in turn chooses an 11-member Mayoral Committee. The city is divided into 111 wards; each ward directly elects one member of the council. The other 110 councillors are elected by a system of party-list proportional representation. The city manager is the non-political head of the city's administration.

After the creation of the "unicity" from the six previous municipalities, the city was divided into 16 subcouncils, later increased to the present 24. Subcouncils consist of geographically clustered wards with proportional councillors assigned to them and led by a subcouncil chairman who is elected by a majority vote of each subcouncil.

Executive incumbents[edit]

With the Democratic Alliance (DA) having won an absolute majority of council seats in the election of 18 May 2011, its mayoral candidate Patricia de Lille was formally elected mayor on 1 June.[5] Before the election, the executive mayor was Dan Plato of the DA. He was preceded by Helen Zille, now Premier of the Western Cape.[6] The current executive Deputy Mayor is Ian Neilson.

The current city manager is Achmat Ebrahim, who was appointed in April 2006.

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.[7]

Council seat breakdown[edit]

Seats in the city council after the 2011 election

The following table shows the distribution of seats in the council after the election of 18 May 2011:

e • d Seats in the Cape Town City Council after the election of 18 May 2011[8]
Party Ward PR top-up Total Percentage
Democratic Alliance 78 57 135 61.1%
African National Congress 33 40 73 33.0%
African Christian Democratic Party 0 3 3 1.4%
Congress of the People 0 3 3 1.4%
Africa Muslim Party 0 1 1 0.5%
Al Jama-ah 0 1 1 0.5%
Cape Muslim Congress 0 1 1 0.5%
National Party 0 1 1 0.5%
Pan Africanist Congress 0 1 1 0.5%
United Democratic Movement 0 1 1 0.5%
Freedom Front Plus 0 1 1 0.5%
Total 111 110 221 100.0%

In a by-election held on 19 September 2012, a ward previously held by an ANC councillor was won by the DA candidate, so that the DA now holds 136 seats and the ANC 72.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

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

In the 2006 local government election, the Democratic Alliance (DA) was the largest single party and took 90 of the 210 seats on the council, ahead of the African National Congress (ANC) which took 81 seats, but with no party holding a majority. The Independent Democrats (ID) led by Patricia de Lille initially took 23 seats.[10]

Helen Zille was elected executive mayor on 15 March 2006 by a 3-vote margin of 106 votes against former incumbent executive mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo who received 103 votes, including 22 votes from the ID (one rebel ID councillor voted for Zille). Helen Zille formed a DA-led coalition, also known as the Multi-Party Government with the support of six smaller parties who collectively became known as the Multi-Party Forum parties with a combined total of 105 seats out of 210 (a narrow one-seat majority) in the council. Andrew Arnolds of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) was elected executive deputy mayor and Jacob "Dirk" Smit of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) was elected the speaker who also serves as the chairperson of the council meetings. The DA gained one seat in a June 2006 by-election held in Tafelsig (Mitchell's Plain) which was taken from the ID when the rebel ward councillor Sheval Arendse resigned to join the DA in order to protest the ID decision to vote with the ANC in the mayoral election and this doubled the coalition's majority to two seats. In January 2007 the DA-led coalition had increased its majority, by introducing the Independent Democrats (22 seats) to the coalition following the expulsion of the Africa Muslim Party (three seats) from the coalition when it supported a failed bid by controversial councillor Badih Chabaan (who demanded the deputy mayor's post) to oust Helen Zille and the DA and form a coalition with the ANC. As a result of the ID's support, the DA-led coalition increased its majority of two seats (106 seats) to 40 seats (125 seats) resulting in a much more stable coalition. As a result of the ID joining the coalition, Andrew Arnolds stepped down to allow Charlotte Williams of the ID to became executive deputy mayor on 31 January 2007. In the pivotal Hout Bay by-election in February 2007, the DA retained a safe seat and strengthened its position in Hangberg, a coloured fishing community.

During the recent floor-crossing period in September 2007, the DA increased their share of seats by four seats from 91 to 95, while the ID lost six seats, dropping to 16 seats from 22, primarily at the expense of the DA which gained two ID councillors, and the newly formed National People's Party (NPP), led by controversial former councillor Badih Chabaan, which gained three ID councillors and one AMP councillor. Another new party was formed named the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which took one seat from the ID as well. The ANC did not lose or gain a seat and stood at 81 seats. Following the floor-crossing period, Charlotte Williams of the ID announced her resignation as deputy mayor and there was uncertainty over who would replace her. Under the terms of the coalition agreement since March 2006 the position of deputy mayor was to be given to the ACDP. However Mayor Helen Zille had rejected four of the ACDP's nominations for the post and insisted that a DA member take the post. A row broke out between the two parties when Zille stated that the ACDP did not hold the balance of power and was stubborn over controlling the post for the DA. However after more than a month of the impasse which was accompanied by several rounds of negotiations, Zille conceded the post to the ACDP. On 31 October 2007, Grant Haskin of the ACDP was elected the third executive deputy mayor since Zille came to power. The DA lost one council seat after a by-election in Macassar in March 2008 which was unexpectedly won by the ID in an upset victory for a party which was a major partner in the coalition. Thus the by-election outcome had no impact on the DA-led coalition's position in the council other than to bolster the ID's position after it was dealt a blow in the floor-crossings.

After the March 2006 local government elections the DA controlled thirteen subcouncils, followed by the ANC with seven, the ACDP with two, and the ID with one. After the floor crossing in September 2007 the subcouncils were reconstituted with fifteen going to the DA, four to the ID, two to the ACDP while the ANC retained only two after losing five subcouncils.


The municipality has a total area of 2455 km².[11]

Main places[edit]

The 2001 census divided the municipality into the following main places:[12]

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
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 municipalities[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact list: Executive Mayors". Government Communication & Information System. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Metropolitan Municipality". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  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. ^ Adams, Nathan (1 June 2011). "De Lille receives Cape Town mayoral chain". Eyewitness News. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Phillip, Bulelani and Essop, Philda. "It's Mayor Zille for Cape Town". Cape Argus. p. 1. Retrieved 15 March 2006. 
  7. ^ Auditor-General urges South Africa’s mayors to lead the drive towards clean administration by 2014
  8. ^ "Seat Calculation Detail: City of Cape Town". Independent Electoral Commission. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "DA takes another ward off ANC in Cape Town - Helen Zille". Politicsweb. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Seat Calculation Summary: City of Cape Town" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. 2006. Archived from the original on 18 March 2006. Retrieved 15 March 2006. 
  11. ^ "City of Cape Town". Municipal Demarcation Board. Retrieved 19 October 2009. 
  12. ^ Lookup Tables - Statistics South Africa

External links[edit]