CIAG welcomes 'Western Cape Powers Bill'

PRESS RELEASE: CIAG welcomes DA's 'Western Cape Powers Bill' but cautions that without additional legislation it will be toothless.

PRESS RELEASE: CIAG welcomes DA’s ‘Western Cape Powers Bill’ as a valuable step towards Western Cape self-determination.

The CIAG welcomes yesterday’s announcement by the Western Cape DA that it has tabled a ‘Western Cape Powers Bill’ in the provincial parliament.

The bill will make it a legislative requirement that the Western Cape Government assess which powers it needs to ensure the constitutional rights of the Western Cape people are met, and having done so, to take the necessary steps to obtain such powers as may be required. In our current reality where the national government is manifestly failing to fulfil many of its obligations, this is both essential and highly significant.

However, this bill is only one part of the solution, and more must be done.

The Western Cape people cannot be helpless passengers on somebody else’s ship. Both morally and legally, they are entitled to determine their own destiny. They will not be voting for an ANC/EFF doomsday coalition in 2024 and they must not suffer the consequences if voters in the rest of South Africa do. They have a right to self-determination, a right which South Africa has repeatedly and formally affirmed.

The Western Cape Powers Bill will force the Western Cape Government to pursue greater autonomy, but it will not on its own deliver it.

The focus of the bill is ensuring that the Western Cape Government actively seeks additional power, but it contains no mechanism by which to ensure that those powers are actually acquired. Instead, it relies on section 238 of the Constitution which says that any sphere of government ‘may’ assign powers to any other sphere.

In 2019, Premier Alan Winde was elected on promises to pursue the devolution of powers including policing and budgets, and rail. Despite regularly asking, the national government has consistently declined his requests.

The solution relies in the combination of three bills, all of which have already been written, and all of which are already ‘in the system’.

These bills are:

The ‘Western Cape Powers Bill’ which establishes which powers are needed and requires the Western Cape Government to pursue them; and

The ‘Western Cape Peoples Bill’ which claims the right of self-determination for the Western Cape people and in doing so establishes a legal basis upon which to claim additional powers by right; and

The ‘Electoral Commission Amendment Bill (Referendum Bill)’ which aligns national legislation with the Constitution so that the Western Cape Premier can consult with the Western Cape people on how they wish to exercise their right to self-determination. (Self-determination can legally be exercised in the form of devolution, federalism, or sovereign independence).

The DA must now urgently ensure that these other two bills are also tabled and passed so that the Western Cape Powers Bill can have a practical impact on the lives of the Western Cape people.

No-one believes that any future ANC/EFF coalition government is going to voluntarily elect to devolve powers to the Western Cape. Their hand will need to be forced.

Support the Peoples Bill:

DATE: 31May 2023

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