For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. Over the coming decades, cities will accommodate nearly all of the world’s population growth. Managing this urbanization will be an even greater challenge for local governments.

Making Cape Town a best-run, smart city

What impact are urbanization trends having on Cape Town?

Patricia de Lille: The City of Cape Town, South Africa, is like many other cities in the world today. We are driven by four broad trends: urbanization, decentralization, globalization, and government reform. About 12 years ago, Cape Town consolidated seven separate city councils across the Cape Metropolitan Area into a single Unicity Council. We’ve made the transition to a “unicity” during a time of great transformation. Globalization and the knowledge economy are driving tremendous change. And they are driving competition between cities that have the skills to compete in the global economy and those that do not. We’re striving to be one of the cities that has those skills. 


Do these trends impact the way Cape Town serves its constituents?

Patricia de Lille: In South Africa, the national government has traditionally provided the majority of citizen services. Local governments always played a more limited role. Today, that situation has reversed. For us, this underscores the increasing importance of cities and towns in South Africa’s development. Of course, this also means that Cape Town residents expect their city to deliver much more than water or electricity. They also look to us to help tackle issues of poverty, social exclusion, economic development, safety, and the environment.


How has Cape Town responded in the past?

Patricia de Lille: Cape Town has adopted the vision of a smart city – a place inhabited by informed people and connected to the world and each other by technology. We’re promoting new technologies, increasing city productivity, and targeting social problems to boost our economic competitiveness and success. Take Cape Town’s Integrated Development Plan, for example. It sets top priorities for the next five years: jobs, housing, and safety and security.


What are the most significant challenges you face?

Patricia de Lille: Like a lot of cities, Cape Town will have to do more with less in the future. This means that we will have to become much more efficient in the way we think about services and the way we deliver them. The Cape Town government needs more standardized financial policies and procedures. We need IT and back-office systems that not only make us more productive, but that also give us deeper insight. With good information, we can make the best policy decisions for our citizens.


How is SAP helping Cape Town address these challenges? 

Patricia de Lille: SAP has decades of experience in providing solutions to the public sector around the world. And this experience is essentially built into the solutions that they offer us. So using SAP software has enabled us to substantially improve our position as a relevant, socially just, and globally competitive city. SAP has provided Cape Town with the solutions we need to become a best-run city. 

Customer Profile

The City of Cape Town is South Africa’s second-largest city. More than 24,000 city staff members serve 3.4 million residents in a metro area of 2,500 km2 (1,553 square miles) and a budget of R22 billion (€2.1 billion).


SAP has enabled Cape Town to respond to the pressures of globalization by integrating disparate business processes. Today, it is providing greater and more efficient levels of services for its citizens.


Quick Facts

Industry: Public Sector
Employees: 24,000
Headquarters: Cape Town, South Africa
Solutions: SAP ERP Human Capital Management application, SAP CRM application, SAP Business­Objects Business Intelligence and SAP Business­Objects Strategy Management solutions, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse component, SAP Solution Manager application management solution, SAP NetWeaver Folders Management application (former SAP Records Management application), SAP for Utilities solution portfolio