Personal and educational:
Brett Herron, born in 1966, grew up in Durban during the height of apartheid. His father served as a member of the Durban City Council in the 1970’s – as the Chairperson of the then Health & Housing Committee and as a member of Durban’s inaugural Management Committee. Sunday afternoon drives in the Herron household often included driving through low-cost housing estates and townships checking on the living conditions of the residents. So, it was at a very early age that Brett became civically aware of the vast inequalities that exist in our society.
It was also at this early age that he became interested in politics and realised the power of local government to transform lives. After completing high school Brett enrolled at the then University of Natal (Durban), now UKZN, and completed a BA degree in Sociology and Legal Studies before going on to study for his LL.B degree. Brett moved into Ward 57 eight years ago when he bought a house in Observatory. He now now lives with his partner and their 3 dogs in Woodstock.
After completing his studies at the University of Natal, Brett embarked on a backpacking trip through Europe before returning to Durban to commence legal articles with a prominent law firm. He qualified as an attorney and then practised for a number of years – first in Johannesburg and then later in Cape Town. In 1997 an opportunity arose for him to live and work in New York and he spent 4 years in New York. During his time in New York he missed Africa, South Africa and Cape Town too much to consider staying any longer and so he returned to Cape Town in September 2001 – happening to be on the first flight to be allowed to depart New York after 9/11.
Upon returning to Cape Town, Brett became involved in legal skills training and the development of paralegals. He has owned and run the South African Law School, an accredited private legal skills training provider, since 2002. Over the past 9 years he has been involved in training thousands of paralegals – his School’s learners come from diverse communities and have diverse aspirations – some go on to study law and become lawyers while others work in community advice offices. In 2003, Brett recognised the need for accessible legal services and so he launched the Cape Town Advice Office – a socio-legal advice office that operated within the South African Law School – providing free legal services to indigent residents of Cape Town. The Cape Town Advice Office assisted thousands of Capetonians from 2003 until 2010.
Political and other activities:
Brett became interested and involved in political activities at an early age. As a student he was involved in student politics, being a founder member and Deputy-Chair of DemSoc (Democratic Society) – an anti-apartheid university student organisation. He became involved in the then PFP, later DP, as a branch chairperson and served on the DP’s Regional Executive committee in Durban. When Brett qualified as an attorney in 1994 he began to focus on his career and became less involved in active politics. Then at the end of 2007, whilst on a summer beach holiday in the Eastern Cape, he read a book written by Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC Member of Parliament, called “After the Party” which was a revealing expose’ of the scandalous South African arms deal. The book had a profound impact on Brett and when he finished reading it he decided to become involved in active politics again.
Brett joined Patricia De Lille’s party, the Independent Democrats (ID), and he became actively involved within ID party structures. In 2009 Brett joined the City of Cape Town as an ID Councillor – and was appointed to the Housing Portfolio Committee. Shortly after joining the committee Brett submitted a motion to the committee calling for the City to provide basic services to Backyard Dwellers – the motion led to a city workshop on backyard dwellers and contributed to the recent decision by the City to commence three pilot backyard dweller projects – the objective of which is to identify a new strategy with regards to backyard dwellers in particular the provision of basic services.
In November 2009 Brett was elected Chairperson of the Social Development Portfolio Committee – a position he held until his appointment as Mayoral Committee (Mayco) Member for Community Services.
Mayco Member for Community Services:
Brett is deeply honoured to have been appointed Mayco Member for Community Services and to have the opportunity to serve the people of Cape Town in this capacity. Community Services encompasses Sports and Recreation, Parks and Library Services. This is a large directorate that is at the frontline of delivering quality of life services to the residents of Cape Town.
ID / DA Merge:
In 2010 the ID and DA began the process of merging. Ultimately the ID will no longer exist after the 2014 General Elections. For the coming 2011 Local Government Elections, ID councillors and members who wished to make themselves available for public office submitted themselves to the DA’s candidate selection process and will contest these elections as DA members. This process saw ID Leader, Patricia De Lille, selected as the DA’s candidate for Mayor of the City of Cape Town. Brett was selected as the DA’s candidate for Ward 57 and he contested the local government elections in May 2011.
Ward 57 Councillor / Mayoral Committee Member: Transport / Chairperson of Naming Committee
Brett was elected Councillor for Ward 57, Cape Town in May 2011. Ward 57 includes Devils Peak, Gardens, Zonnebloem, District Six, Woodstock, Walmer Estate, University Estate, Salt River, Observatory, parts of Mowbray and Rosebank.
After the 2011 elections Mayor Patricia De Lille formed her “cabinet” and Brett was appointed the Mayoral Committee Member for Transport. The Mayor also appointed Brett the Chairperson of the Naming Committee – a special committee of Council which is mandated to deal with naming, renaming and memorialisation.
Brett served as the Mayoral Committee Member for Transport until the 2016 Local Government elections. During the 2011 to 2016 term of office he provided political leadership to the implementation of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit project, known as MyCiTi, which is widely regarded as the most successful BRT in Africa. He also championed and led the formulation of a groundbreaking Transit Orientated Development Strategic Framework (TOD Framework) which was recently recognised as the top Transport Strategy at UITP 2017 Congress.
Following the 2016 elections Brett was re-elected to Council and re-appointed to the Mayoral Committee. The City went through a restructuring process which included the establishment of a Transport & Urban Development Authority (TDA) which amalgamated the transport, spatial planning and housing functions into one unit in order to implement the TOD Framework and address the stubborn legacy of apartheid era spatial planning. Brett was appointed as the Mayco Member for Transport & Urban Development.