|Executive Deputy Mayor of the City of Cape Town|
27 May 2009
20 October 1954 |
Boksburg, South Africa
|Political party||Democratic Alliance|
Neilson is a civil engineer and practised as a consulting engineer in the field of water engineering for 20 years, before entering full time politics.
In 2001, when he held the post of Executive Councillor for Safety & Health, he was responsible for the establishment of the Cape Town City Police Service.
Ian was born in Boksburg, South Africa. He matriculated from Boksburg High School in 1971. He obtained a B.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 1975 and a M.Sc. degree in Engineering in 1984.
He worked across South Africa on various engineering projects. Key water supply projects that he worked on were a detailed basin study of the Luvuvhu River Basin (a tributary of the Limpopo River) and the Orange-Vaal Rivers Weir project (an envisaged alternative to the Lesotho Highlands Water Supply System). He also worked on a number of flood and storm water projects, most notable of which was the design of the canal system at Century City, Cape Town. It the latter part of his career he established himself as an expert in pipeline design and pipe network planning.
Ian was involved in politics from his student days at the University of Cape Town where he was involved in opposition to the apartheid government of the day.
His first campaign towards elective office was in the South African general election, 1987, when he was a candidate for the Progressive Federal Party (PFP) in the constituency of Pretoria Central. This constituency was a National Party stronghold and he came forth in the election behind the Conservative Party and the Herstigte Nasionale Party.
He moved back to Cape Town in 1990 and in 1996 was a candidate for the Democratic Party (DP) (a successor of the PFP) in the first local government elections in a new democratic South Africa. He was elected as a Proportional List Councillor to the Council of the Blaauwberg Municipality as the DP's sole representative. He served as a member of the Council's Executive Committee and on the Planning Committee.
In 1999 he was appointed by the Western Cape Minister of Local Government to serve on the Unicity Commission that was set up to prepare the consolidation of seven local governments into the unicity of Cape Town.
Soon before the 5 December 2000 local government election that established the new City of Cape Town, the DP amalgamated with the New National Party (NNP) to form the Democratic Alliance (DA). Ian was elected as a DA councillor for Ward 3, an area extending from the wealthy area of Bloubergstrand to the low-cost housing town of Dunoon. The DA won a majority in that election in Cape Town. Ian was elected by the DA caucus to serve in the city executive as the Executive Councillor for Safety & Health, a position he held until 2002. It was during this period that he established the Cape Town City Police Service.
In October 2002 a number of former NNP members left the DA to reestablish their former party. As a result the DA lost its majority in the Cape Town Council. Ian was shortly thereafter elected as deputy leader of the DA in the council, a position he held for the remainder of the council term. 
At the local government election of March 2006, Ian was elected as the Ward Councillor for Ward 23, a newly delimited ward that extends from Melkbosstrand to Bloubergstrand and parts of Table View. The DA was returned as the largest party in the City of Cape Town. It formed a multiparty government under the leadership of Executive Mayor Helen Zille. Mayor Zille appointed Ian as the Mayoral committee member for Finance. His term in this post has been characterized by a cleanup of the city's formerly corrupt procurement system, an improved city credit rating and unqualified reports from the Auditor General. He has overseen a significant growth in expenditure on infrastructure, both in terms of new capital works (rising from R1 billion per year to R5 billion per year) and in repairs and maintenance (increasing from R800 million to R1,7 billion per year). The city has also successfully launched three bond loan issues on the Bond Exchange of South Africa, totaling R4,2 billion.
Ian initiated a reform of the city's budgeting process, opening up the budget drafting process to greater political and public scrutiny. On 30 March 2009 he tabled a city budget of R23,8 billion for the 2009/10 Financial Year.
Another responsibility that Ian held during the 2006 to 2010 period was as chairperson of the Mayoral Committee subcommittee on the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He oversaw the construction of the new 68,000-seat Cape Town Stadium and the operational preparations for the tournament.
He is also the city's observer on the board of the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Election as Executive Deputy Mayor
At the national and provincial elections on 22 April 2009, the DA won a majority in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament. Helen Zille was elected as Premier of the Western Cape Province and ceased to be the Executive Mayor of Cape Town. In the aftermath of these changes, Dan Plato was elected by the Council as the new Executive Mayor and the composition of the city's multiparty government was changed.
The 2011 Local Government Election saw the Democratic Alliance returned to office with an improved vote. It won 61% of the total vote. Ian was returned as a Proportional List Councillor. The new Mayor, Patricia de Lille, nominated him to retain the posts of Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Finance.
- "Secret process 'just tip of a dirty iceberg'".
- "Mfeketo 'was aware' of jewellry project deal".
- "The sweet scent of an election victory".
- "Electricity increase on the cards for Cape".
- "Cape spends to reduce power failure risk".
- "Neilson is Cape's new deputy mayor".
- "Hosting World Cup draw to cost Cape Town R11m".