The Western Cape Peoples Bill is not about Cape Independence but about delivering the devolution of powers which the Western Cape voted for in 2019, but which the Western Cape Government has been unable to deliver.
Premier Winde was elected on a promise to fight for the devolution of policing powers and budgets from national to provincial government and to fight for a devolved provincial rail service which is safe, and which runs on time.
He has officially requested both, but his appeals have been denied by the national government.
In the 2021 election campaign, DA federal chairperson Helen Zille said ‘The DA has always supported federalism and will continue driving devolution of power and regional autonomy. Where people don’t vote ANC, they don’t deserve to live in a failed state.”
Zille’s comments are not only morally incontrovertible, they articulate a fundamental principle of international law – that all people have an ‘undeniable and inalienable’ right -determination. Since 1994, South Africa has signed and ratified three different international treaties all of which guarantee this right, and self-determination is a principle of the South African Constitution.
A UN report recently clarified that self-determination could be exercised in one of four ways: devolution, federalism, independence, or unification.
The Western Cape Peoples Bill will claim the right of self-determination for the province so that the Premier can not only claim devolved powers by right, but that the Western Cape can also claim full federal autonomy within the South African state.
A ‘Western Cape Federal Autonomy Bill’ is currently being written and in addition to devolving powers including policing and rail, it will include a provincial veto on constitutional changes which affect the province, and which would allow the provincial government to step in when the national government fails to fulfil its constitutional duties.
Given the frank admission by DA leader John Steenhuisen that an ANC/EFF doomsday coalition is a distinct possibility, taking measures to protect those areas where the DA already govern is essential. It is also required by the Western Cape Constitution.
Significantly, this is a solution which other provinces who reject the ANC and EFF in 2024 can also apply.
Phil Craig is the co-founder and spokesperson of the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) and not the leader of the Cape Independence Party as the Citizen previously stated in error.
(This is the article the CIAG is responding too)