Comments delivered by Phil Craig on behalf of CIAG (31 August 2023)
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA5cBrU3vOY
We would now like to share some thoughts around the implications of the results and to talk about what happens next.
It has been clear for some time now that there is very substantial support for Cape Independence amongst Western Cape voters and this poll once again confirms this.
Two-thirds of Western Cape voters now support a referendum on Cape Independence and a clear majority support Cape Independence itself.
In a democracy we simply cannot ignore this.
The question then becomes “what must we do?”
At the CIAG we believe that the answer is simple. The established and best international practice is to call a referendum and to allow the people of the Western Cape to irrefutably demonstrate their democratic wishes on Cape Independence.
Cape Independence is not going to go away. Support for it is growing significantly and we simply have to deal with this question.
I would like to take a few moments to pack this out.
A majority of Western Cape voters have supported a referendum on Cape Independence since 2021, the constitutions of both South Africa and the Western Cape explicitly empower the Western Cape Premier to call a provincial referendum, the DA has tabled legislation in the national assembly which seeks to tidy up the enabling legislation which governs how a provincial referendum would be called, and before the 2021 elections the DA said that whilst they did not support Cape Independence they acknowledged that ultimately it was a decision for the Western Cape people to make for themselves in a referendum.
More than that, and out of respect for the DA and its leaders we have never previously made the details of this public, DA-leader John Steenhuisen personally promised myself and the CIAG that the DA would fix the referendum legislation and that they would call a referendum which included a question on Cape Independence.
It is now time for the DA to make good on their 2021 election promises and to call a referendum on Cape Independence.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind the DA that the Western Cape Government which they lead, is obliged by the Western Cape Constitution, to act in the best interests of the Western Cape people.
68% of Western Cape voters support a referendum on Cape Independence. 64% believe Cape Independence would improve the quality of their lives, and the same number believe that conditions in South Africa are not going to improve. The DA themselves are predicting doomsday after 2024.
In such circumstances, how can it possibly be in the best interests of the Western Cape people to deny them a referendum which would allow them choose their own destiny?
The separation of party and state is a fundamental principle of the South African Constitution, and a principle which the DA themselves have fought extremely hard to uphold where the ANC has clearly abused it.
Principles sometimes come at a cost, and with Cape Independence the DA is now on the other end of the stick.
We understand that the DA has national political ambitions, and the DA have regularly reminded us at the CIAG that 70% of their voters reside outside of the Western Cape.
To be clear, we support all attempts to unseat the ANC both nationally, and in other provinces, but ultimately that is a decision for the people who live in those provinces and in the rest of South Africa.
Premier Alan Winde and the government he leads were elected by the Western Cape people, to serve the Western Cape people, and they must listen to the Western Cape people.
The political interests of the DA must not factor in the fundamental question of whether the Western Cape people wish to remain a part of South Africa or whether they wish to break away and form their own independent country.
This brings us to the question of what must happen next?
I can now announce, that six political parties and organisations have come together to jointly call for a referendum on Cape Independence to be held on election day 2024.
The organisations are, the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG), CapeXit NPC, the Freedom Front Plus, the Cape Independence Party, the Cape Youth Front, and the Swartland Aksie Groep.
They will now write to Premier Winde and President Ramaphosa calling for a referendum on election day 2024, and will be inviting members of the public to support this call by also signing the letter. A dedicated website has been setup for this purpose at: www.CapeReferendum.org.
We are aware that the ‘referendum bill’ which tidies up the regulations around provincial referendums has not yet been passed by the National Assembly.
At this stage we do not intend to disclose why the DA has taken more than 2 years to table its own referendum legislation but reserve the right to do so if it is necessary.
It is of no real consequence.
Our legal team are firmly convinced that Premier Winde can call a referendum, which he is constitutionally empowered to do, using the existing Referendums Act into which his right to call a referendum can be ‘read in’.
Regardless of this, even if the Premier genuinely believes he does not have the ability to exercise his unquestionable constitutional right to call a referendum, he can simply ask the President to give effect to his call since the existing Referendums Act explicitly enables the President to do so.
So, in closing, we want Premier Alan Winde to call referendum on Cape Independence on election 2024.
With doomsday approaching, it is now time to ask the Western Cape people what they want and to allow them to determine their own future.
In a democracy, the will of the people must count.