The city is divided into 111 electoral wards; each ward directly elects one member of the council, whilst the other 110 councillors are elected by a system of party-list proportional representation.
The Executive Mayor and Executive Deputy Mayor are chosen by the city council.
In the local government elections of 18 May 2011, the Democratic Alliance (DA) won an outright majority, taking 135 of the 221 council seats. The African National Congress, the national ruling party, received 73 seats. As a result of this victory Patricia de Lille, the DA mayoral candidate, was inaugurated as Executive Mayor on 1 June.