CIAG says the ‘Free the Cape’ march, which will be held on Freedom Day in Cape Town, is aimed in part at ‘keeping the Democratic Alliance honest’ on Cape Independence.
Polling conducted by Victory Research in July last year found that the majority of Western Cape voters, and two-thirds of DA voters in the province, supported a provincial referendum being held on Cape Independence.
In June last year, DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone announced the DA’s intention to bring the necessary enabling legislation to allow provincial referendums to be held and called for comments to be submitted to the speaker of parliament. She later confirmed to the CIAG that the response had been overwhelmingly positive, both in terms of support for the proposed bill, and the volume of comments received. It was anticipated that the bill would be formally submitted to Parliament in November 2021.
In the run up to the Local Government Elections (LGEs), the CIAG consulted various political parties contesting the elections in the Western Cape to establish their position on a referendum on Cape Independence. This information was then reproduced in a voting guide which was circulated to Cape Independence supporters. The DA’s position was that, whilst it did not support Cape Independence itself, it believed the Western Cape people had the right to democratically decide for themselves, and it was willing to include a question on Cape Independence in a provincial referendum.
This arrangement suited both sides. The majority of Cape Independence supporters vote DA, and the majority of WC DA voters support Cape Independence. Avoiding a situation which would force them to choose between the two was good politics all round. The DA, who support federalism, then focused heavily on greater local autonomy in their election campaign.
With the LGEs behind us, the DA has turned its focus to 2024 and has coalition politics firmly in its sights. Ten months after announcing its intention to bring the referendum legislation before parliament it is still yet to do so.
The march is a timely reminder to the DA that, for the greater part, the independence movement has chosen to work with them rather than against them. It has done so on the basis that both camps were willing to let the Western Cape people decide for themselves on Cape Independence.
A petition addressed to Premier Alan Winde will be handed over at the march. It thanks the DA for the promises it has made, but the underlying message is clear. Deliver what you promised. Table the referendum legislation, call a referendum, allow the Western Cape people to decide for themselves on Cape Independence.
During the LGEs the DA lost significant support in the Western Cape, primarily amongst coloured and white voters who feel that the DA simply isn’t doing enough to shield them from the effects of national politics.
It’s not just the DA who are weighing up their options for 2024. If the future of the Western Cape people is to become a DA gambling chip in a game of national coalition poker, then the Cape Independence movement will very quickly make another plan.
Civic group CapeXit, the Freedom Front Plus, and the Cape Independence Party are jointly hosting the march with the CIAG.
DATE: 13 April 2022
Anyone wishing to sign the march petition can do so here