PRESS RELEASE: CIAG cautiously welcomes DA’s tabling of a referendum bill but warns that democracy delayed is democracy denied.
The CIAG is delighted that the DA’s long promised ‘Electoral Commission Amendment Bill’ (commonly referred to as the ‘Referendum Bill’) has finally been tabled. The bill will clarify how provincial premiers can exercise their constitutional right to call provincial referendums, including a referendum on Cape Independence.
However, the CIAG is disappointed that it has taken the DA so long to table the referendum legislation and the effect that this has had on the functioning of democracy in the Western Cape.
CIAG spokesperson Phil Craig says, “It has taken the DA 733 days from finalising the bill to actually tabling it in parliament and it is now unlikely to be passed before the 2024 elections. This effectively denies the people of the Western Cape a democratic solution to what the DA themselves are describing as ‘doomsday’”.
Many Cape Independence supporters are questioning whether the DA are actually emulating Jacob Zuma’s ‘Stalingrad Approach’. Prior to the 2021 elections, the DA stated that Cape Independence was a matter for the Western Cape people to decide for themselves, and they promised the CIAG that they would fix the referendum legislation and then call a referendum which included a question on Cape Independence.
Zuma claimed to want his day in court but then did everything in his power to avoid it. The DA say Cape Independence is a decision for the Western Cape people to make in a referendum but appear to be in no rush whatsoever to call such a referendum to give them the choice.
The CIAG understands that the DA’s own internal polling has confirmed that a clear majority of Western Cape voters support a referendum on Cape Independence, and that one of the reasons the referendum legislation has taken so long to table is because in the DA’s own words, they are in danger of a ‘Brexit scenario’.
South Africa is potentially facing doomsday in 2024. There is no possible prospect that the Western Cape will be voting for an ANC/EFF coalition government. The Western Cape is only in danger because it remains part of South Africa. The DA are right in saying that Cape Independence is a democratic decision for the Western Cape people to make for themselves. Now they must breathe life into that democratic principle.
The CIAG has formally written to the DA asking whether they will be honouring their promise to call a referendum on Cape Independence, demanding that they are honest and open with voters ahead of the 2024 elections. The DA acknowledged the letter and promised to respond, but that response is now two months overdue. It is hard not to see a pattern emerging.
Craig says, “John Steenhuisen has been brutally honest about what lies ahead in 2024, he must be just as honest about whether the DA intend to call a referendum on Cape Independence or not. It is a simple ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ answer. If you have nothing to hide it takes seconds to provide clarity, not years.”
Democracy delayed is democracy denied.
DATE: 14 June 2023