South Africa is an interesting country in the fact that it has three capitals – Cape Town is the legislative capital, Pretoria is the administrative capital and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. Because of the separation of the government branches, South Africa is deemed to have a more balance of powers, rather than power being centralised in one place. The legislative capital, Cape Town, has a big role in politics to play.
Cape Town is the seat of the nation’s Parliament, which consists of the National Assembly, and the National Council of Provinces. The city is the second largest in population in South Africa, and is one of the most popular when it comes to expat relocations, aside from Johannesburg. Legislative authority sits in Parliament, and it is Parliament who create, amend and remove any legislation. Today, there is also a city council, which consists of two elected councillors from each 17 wards. The mayor is mainly ceremonial, and an executive committee of council members is directly responsible for the administration of the city.
The city of Cape Town originated in 1652, when the Dutch East India Company established a refreshment station on the shores of Table Bay for its ships. The city became a gateway to Europe’s penetration of the South African interior, and to this day the city has close ties with continental Europe. The first settlement was situated between Table Mountain and Table Bay, bounded on the northwest by the ridges known as Signal Hill, on the north by Table Bay, on the south by Devil’s peak and on the east by marshlands and the sandy Cape Flats. The fortress protected the settlement and shaped the direction of Cape Town’s growth. The first railway line in the city was constructed in 1864 and reached Wynberg, and a second was built to reach Muizenberg in 1883. Today, the port of Cape Town handles five million tons of cargo annually, and its repair facilities and dry dock are exceptionally important to interoceanic traffic.
During much of the 20th century, there were no racial barriers and both whites and non-whites could vote and hold office. In 1972 however, national legislation removed non-whites from the electoral rolls. Nevertheless, the municipality continued to oppose apartheid legislation and in 1985 decided to reinstate the vote for everyone regardless of race, colour or creed. A peaceful protest also helped to end the system of apartheid and contributed to the release of Nelson Mandela. After the dismantling of apartheid, Cape Town’s government converted to majority rule, and the city’s municipal boundaries and structures were restructured and integrated in an attempt to better serve all city residents.
Cape Town has a rich history of politics and culture, and since the first European, Antonio de Saldanha, anchored at Table Bay and climbed Table Mountain, there was a lot of integration between indigenous inhabitants the Khoi people, and Europeans. Since then, Cape Town have had strong connections with Europe in terms of trade and more recently relocation purposes. If you’re looking at moving to the beautiful country of South Africa, or in particular the thriving metropolis of Cape Town, contact a member of the Santa Fe Relocation Services team today.