Patricia de Lille reshuffles Cape Town Mayco

Mayor says Belinda Walker appointed to the Community Services portfolio, among other changes

Mayor announces Mayco reshuffle

I have decided to use the opportunity presented by the resignation of Cllr Shehaam Sims, former Mayoral Committee Member for Utilities, to reshuffle some of the portfolios in the Mayoral Committee. Given that we are almost two years into the term of office, this also presented an ideal opportunity to refocus the Mayoral Committee's energy and to further strengthen its functioning.

The changes that I am announcing today promote excellence and serve as a way of consolidating our strengths and positioning ourselves for enhancing service delivery in the City of Cape Town.

Shehaam Sims has officially resigned as a councillor and after an open and competitive process has taken up a position in the administration. Her seat on the Mayoral Committee has been filled by Cllr Garreth Bloor, who has been promoted to the position as Mayoral Committee member Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning (EESP).

Cllr. Bloor has been an outstanding chairperson of the EESP portfolio committee, in which capacity he has truly distinguished himself. He has taken the lead in not only driving major projects of economic growth initiatives through his committee but has undertaken extensive engagements with external stakeholders, both domestic and abroad, especially in the business community. He has acted as a leader not only amongst fellow caucus leaders but amongst his fellow portfolio committee chairpersons.

Alderman Belinda Walker has been appointed to the Community Services portfolio, as well as the leading of certain priority projects. Ald. Walker has been an invaluable member of the senior leadership of the City for a number of years.

Given her unique understanding of the City, and particularly how to unlock blockages and reform areas that have been identified for change, Ald. Walker is the perfect candidate for infusing a new, strategic approach to Community Services.

That is, using her understanding of economic policy and Public/Private partnerships to drive the new methodology of sourcing, building and sponsoring community facilities and amenities as identified in our strategic planning.

Such a reform project requires a deep understanding of the City's processes and structures, knowledge which Ald. Walker has acquired in her years of service. In addition, such reform also requires extensive experience in working with officials and with the kind of large budgets that community services has.

In addition, we would like to add to this role an inclusion of a more expansive way of thinking about community services as it pertains to special projects for area revival, such as our efforts to revive Atlantis.

Such projects need to be driven from a community-based perspective that can utilise the levers needed for reinvigorating and rebuilding existing communities.

Cllr. Gqada has been appointed to the portfolio of Human Settlements. As a new Mayoral Committee member, she has truly earned her place as an important member of the Mayoral Committee team.

Cllr. Gqada has demonstrated a real passion for creating vibrant, dynamic communities, showing a special skill in understanding what components are needed to build these types of communities. She has displayed a clear commitment to redress. Such understanding is vital in addressing the legacy of apartheid in our cities.

Recently, the focus in housing policy has shifted away from building blocks of simple structures to building communities, or human settlements. This then means more than just houses but community facilities, amenities and infrastructure as well.

Given Cllr. Gqada's experience in building these types of communities, she is the ideal person to drive this new policy direction in the Human Settlements directorate and affect the kind of shift in approach that we need in our approach to public housing.

Finally, Cllr Sonnenberg has been appointed as the Mayoral Committee member for Utilities. Cllr. Sonnenberg has shown himself to be an excellent leader in this Council and the previous one, leading, most recently, the Human Settlements directorate.

One of the constant challenges that the city has faced as more people have moved to Cape Town has been the provision of certain types of bulk infrastructure. This has been a special challenge, especially in the area of public housing.

Given Cllr. Sonnenberg's work in the Human Settlement's directorate, he is particularly well-placed to understand these challenges. Furthermore, he understands the types of interventions needed to ensure that we successfully roll-out infrastructure to all communities, not only as a basic service, but as social and economic services as well.

In addition, his knowledge of capacity constraints in the city from his work in public housing roll-outs give him a unique perspective of the kinds of areas where we need to direct our infrastructure growth management strategies.

His experience also makes him ideally placed to oversee the directorate with the largest budget in the City and the large service-related staff component.

I am confident that these changes will further strengthen the Mayco and ensure that we can help make a great city, even greater.

Statement issued by Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, February 4 2013

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