On Friday 1Oct 2021 we issued a press statement that 8 political parties, including the Democratic Alliance, were now willing to support a referendum on Cape Independence.
This was a huge victory for both the people of the Western Cape and the Cape Independence movement.
What has become clear is that the significance of this event is so overwhelming that almost everyone, including the media, politicians, and independence supporters, is struggling to comprehend exactly what has happened.
Let us explain.
DA's key role in Cape Independence
If Cape Independence is to be achieved peacefully, democratically, and constitutionally, then the first step in the process is for Western Cape voters to democratically express their wish for independence in a referendum.
The power to call a provincial referendum is outlined in both the South African Constitution (Clause 127(2)(f)) and in the Western Cape Constitution (Clause 37(2)(f)). Both constitutions empower the Western Cape Premier to call such a referendum.
As the party of provincial government until at least 2024 when the next provincial election is scheduled to be held, only the DA can call a referendum.
All of the major independence organisations recognise this and have influencing the DA (Western Cape Provincial Government) to call a referendum as one of their primary goals.
The CIAG try to do this through political lobbying. CapeXit use signed mandates. The Cape Independence Party, the Freedom Front Plus, and the Cape Coloured Congress, want to use political power to influence the DA by forcing them into a pro-independence coalition.
The collective independence movement has now achieved this goal and no-one group can take credit alone, instead, together with our incredible supporters, we all achieved this together!
We must also recognise the role played by the ACDP, the UIM, Cope, and the Karoo Ontwikkeling Party. The fact that all these other political parties were willing to support the democratic principle of allowing the Western Cape people to decide for themselves, even when in some cases they oppose independence, made it much easier for the DA to come out in support of a referendum.
The fact that the DA does not currently support Cape Independence has caused further confusion. At this stage this simply does not matter. The Independence movement has been asking for a referendum and it will now get one.
Before a referendum can actually be called, the referendum legislation needs to be updated. The DA has already started this process with their Electoral Commission Amendment Act. Afriforum have assisted by announcing that they will be taking parliament to the constitutional court to force them to pass referendum legislation.
Devolution vs Centralisation
Until we get to the referendum vote the most important thing that the independence movement must do is to build support and to increase the political pressure on the ANC. The most effective way to do this is by building a political alliance around the devolution of powers.
The ANC and the EFF are centralisers. They want to take power away from provinces and the people, and to control everything themselves from the political centre, Pretoria. The disastrous policy of Cadre Deployment is a perfect example of how this works and just how destructive it is.
The opposite of centralisation is devolution. Taking power away from the centre and devolving it to the lowest practical level. Every independence group and party support devolution. The Canton system promoted by both the Cape Independence Party and CapeXit is an example of this. So is Federalism as promoted by the DA and the ACDP, as is the self-determination promoted by the Freedom Front Plus and Afriforum.
Independence is the ultimate devolution of powers. When we get to the referendum, the CIAG, CapeXit, the Cape Independence Party, the Freedom Front Plus, the Cape Coloured Congress, the Karoo Ontwikkeling Party, and perhaps others will be pushing for outright independence.
Until then, whichever form of devolution the different organisations are proposing, we must unite in our mission to take power away from the ANC and to deliver it to the people of the Western Cape. Each victory we obtain in doing so, not only directly benefits those people, but also furthers the cause of independence. Many people are still doubtful that independence is possible. Each small victory shows them it is.
If the ANC refuses to devolve any powers to the province, as may well be the case, then they simply strengthen the argument for independence and back the DA further into the secessionist camp.
Listen carefully to what the DA have said
The statements of DA leader John Steenhuisen must be taken in this context. There has been too much focus placed on the headline; “Fighting for Cape Independence is a waste of energy”.
The DA remains a political animal and is obviously wary of the political risks. After all they don’t currently support independence. What did people expect them to say? In light of the referendum announcement, independence supporters should rather read past the headline to what John actually said.
“We’ve said we don’t support Cape Independence, but people should have a right to a referendum to make choices going forward.”
“What we should be doing is focussing on fighting for more powers [at a local level] for policing, transport, economic development, TAXATION, local government, water and electricity”.
Think through what you have just read. That the DA now wants tax to be paid to the provincial government and not the national government? That is a pretty radical proposal. Consider how much easier it will be to secure an independent Cape if we have control over policing and taxation.
So how must I vote?
Does this mean the CIAG now supports the DA? No, not directly.
The CIAG and CapeXit have jointly issued an election guide. We have encouraged people to support parties who support independence. That means the Cape Independence Party, the Freedom Front Plus, the Cape Coloured Congress, and the Karoo Ontwikkeling Party.
What it does mean is that the Democratic Alliance, the African Christian Democratic Party, the United Independent Movement, and Cope are now our allies in democracy and devolution. A vote for them, whilst not as powerful as a vote for an independence party, is still a vote that helps rather than harms our cause.
These are exciting times for our movement. We have always said that Cape Independence will be achieved by a thousand small victories and not in one single decisive act. As victories go, getting eight political parties to be willing to support a referendum on Cape Independence, which will now almost certainly mean that a referendum on Cape Independence will take place, is extremely significant.