Dear Premier Winde, Call a Cape Independence Referendum on Election Day 2024

OPEN LETTER: Honour your constitutional oath to act in the best interests of the WC people. It's time to ask those people whether they want their independence from South Africa.

Dear Premier,

We write on behalf of our organisation, CapeXit NPC, and the 30 399 Western Cape citizens who have co-signed this letter.


All people have the right to self-determination.

“In its essence, the right of self-determination means that individuals and peoples should be in control of their destinies and should be able to live out their identities, whether within the boundaries of existing States or through independence. More than an outcome, self-determination should be seen as a process subject to revision and adjustment, and its outcome must correspond to the free and voluntary choice of the peoples concerned, within a framework of human rights protection and non-discrimination.”

These are not our words. They are taken from a 2014 report (A/69/272) to the General Assembly of the United Nations which articulates the legal rights of the people of the Western Cape (and all other peoples).

South Africa at a crossroads

As we write this letter South Africa is in a state of perilous decline which is severely and negatively impacting the lives of the people living in our province.

We do not need to convince you of the veracity of this statement or the seriousness of this situation.

You have publicly emphasised the devastating effect that rolling electricity blackouts are having on the livelihoods and welfare of the people of our province.

The Western Cape currently has the highest murder rate in the world and the Western Cape High Court has recently declared that the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province has been compromised at the highest levels by organised crime.  

The leader of the political party you represent has informed the nation that we are facing “some of the greatest risks in our democratic history” and that there is “an increasingly realistic prospect” of a “doomsday” which will “leave all South Africans destitute”.

We could give many more examples, as could you.

Western Cape is being harmed by South Africa

You know that the problems the Western Cape people are currently facing have either been created directly by the ANC led South African national government, or greatly exacerbated by it.

You also know that it is a matter of empirical fact that the majority of Western Cape voters have never once voted for an ANC government and that they are fundamentally opposed to the national government’s policies and conduct.

You also know that were the people of the Western Cape to govern their own affairs they would be significantly better off than they are now.

When, in 2019, you set out your manifesto to be elected as Premier of the Western Cape, you promised to try and take control over many of the functions of national government because you knew this would improve the lives of the people of the Western Cape.

The people of the Western Cape endorsed these promises when they elected you.

You have repeatedly requested additional powers, but the national government has not only denied your requests, but in doing so, it has denied the democratic will of the people of the Western Cape.

You may not have thought of it in these terms, but you were requesting self-determination for the people of the Western Cape and, through its response, the South African government has denied it.

As we look forward to the 2024 national and provincial elections, there is no prospect whatsoever of the people of the Western Cape voting for “doomsday”. The only reason the people of the Western Cape are facing the “destitution” your party refers to is because we remain a part of South Africa and give our consent to the South African government’s authority over us.

That consent is voluntary and can be withdrawn. We have an ‘undeniable and inalienable’ right to self-determination which includes choosing to govern ourselves.

Cape Independence is a viable solution

Western Cape independence is a legitimate political solution.

It would grant the people of the Western Cape the ultimate measure of self-determination.

It would not only allow the Western Cape government the control over policing and railways which you promised to try and claim but have been unable to achieve, it would also allow it power over economic policy and taxation, to rid ourselves of the scourge of race-based policy, and to control our own border and prevent the on-going illegal land invasions which are changing the fabric of our provincial society.

Most importantly of all, it would allow the people of the Western Cape to be governed by the government they elected as opposed to being governed by the one they rejected.

Cape Independence is our decision, not yours

Our polling has shown that 68% of Western Cape voters favour a referendum being held on Cape Independence. We believe that you have conducted your own polling and you know that there is majority support for a referendum.

In the run up to the 2021 local government elections your party formally agreed that Cape Independence was a matter for Western Cape voters to determine democratically for themselves.

The people of the Western Cape had good reason to take you at your word because in June 2021, just three months before the elections, your party announced its intention to table an amendment to the referendum legislation which would allow you to call a referendum on Cape Independence and published the draft bill in the Government Gazette inviting comments from the public.

Parliament was subsequently inundated with comments and the public were overwhelmingly in support of the bill.

Authority to call a referendum

Section 127(2)(f) of the South African Constitution and section 37(2)(f) of the Western Cape Constitution authorise you to call a referendum.

We note your response dated 4 November 2021 to our earlier request for a referendum wherein you cite the absence of enabling legislation as the reason why you could not engage with us on calling a referendum. You then pointed out that the legislation had been introduced.

Unfortunately, as we trust you are now aware, despite the overwhelmingly positive response to your party’s announcement of the bill, and despite numerous assurances to the contrary, your party had not actually tabled the bill and finally did so only in June 2023. This almost certainly means that the legislation will not now be passed before the 2024 elections.

As a democrat, we are sure that you agree with us that the people of the Western Cape cannot be condemned to a fate not of their own choosing simply because your party has failed to honour its public commitments.

Fortunately, the lack of enabling legislation is not an unsurmountable obstacle.

The Constitution is quite clear that you have a right to call a referendum, and the Referendum Act 1983 provides the regulations under which the President can instigate such a referendum.

The answer is therefore simple. Formally request and require the President to call a referendum in the Western Cape on your behalf in accordance with your constitutional right. The Referendum Act allows him to do so.

Fulfil your constitutional obligations

We would then like to direct you to section 81 of the Western Cape Constitution, to which you have sworn an oath.

Section 81 requires that you ‘adopt and implement policies to actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people of the Western Cape’.

Considering the circumstances we have outlined in this letter, it is inconceivable that denying the people of the Western Cape a referendum on whether they wish to exercise their right to self-determination, and in doing so allowing them to avoid the terrible circumstances which your own party has forecast, could be in their best interests.

We believe, knowing as you do that the majority of Western Cape voters favour a referendum on Cape Independence, you have an obligation towards the people of the Western Cape to call such a referendum.

Your primary duty is to the Western Cape, not South Africa

We note that on multiple occasions when asked about Cape Independence you have responded by stating that you are first and foremost a South African.

We wish to remind you that, as Premier of the Western Cape, you are the individual who has been explicitly appointed to serve the best interests of the people of the Western Cape.

If you wish to act first and foremost in the interest of the people of South Africa, noble as that may appear, we contend that you should then resign your office as Western Cape Premier and stand to be elected to the South African Parliament which is the legislature which has been constituted to serve that purpose.

Whilst you are Premier, you must act in the best interests of the people of the Western Cape, not in the best interest of the people of South Africa.

Call for a referendum on Cape Independence


We hereby call upon you, citing the powers granted to you as Premier of the Western Cape in the South African and Western Cape Constitutions, to demand that:

  1. the President of South Africa call a referendum in the Western Cape to establish whether the people of the Western Cape wish to break away from South Africa and to form their own independent sovereign state (Cape Independence).
  2. the referendum be held on the same day as the 2024 national and provincial elections.
Referendum question

The referendum question must be clear, concise, and neutral, and we propose the following question:

“Should the Western Cape become an independent country?”

Referendum outcome

It is often said that the outcome of referenda held in accordance with the South African Constitution is non-binding.

We contest this claim.

In dealing with the question of independence referenda, both the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United Kingdom have considered the question of whether their outcomes are binding in a democracy.

In both cases, the court found that in a democracy the state cannot simply ignore the outcome of an independence referendum.

Helpfully, paragraph 149 of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on Quebec (1996) sets out in significant detail the obligations of both the state and the territory wishing to secede and outlines the process through which independence should subsequently be negotiated.

In reaching its findings, the Canadian court invited many of the world’s foremost experts on international law to address the court. In doing so it established a powerful legal precedent that would be hard for the South African Constitutional Court to ignore.

We call upon you to publicly pledge to honour the outcome of the referendum and to consider it binding upon the Western Cape Government.

Deadline for your response

We politely request that you publicly and unequivocally confirm whether you are willing or unwilling to call a referendum on Cape Independence no later than 10 October 2023.

Yours Faithfully

Phil Craig

About CIAG: We are a non-profit organisation committed to democratically, lawfully and peacefully obtaining independence for the collective peoples of the Western Cape. Support our work: please spread the word, register for our newsletter and donate.