What is really behind the Campaign for Cape Independence?
On Saturday 25th September, four major Cape Independence organisations, The Cape Independence Party (CIP), the Freedom Front Plus (VF Plus), CapeXit, and the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG), met in Cape Town to hold a workshop on Western Cape secession.
The meeting was facilitated by a professional foresight specialist who works regularly with international governments, the United Nations (UN), and other civic organisations. For a large part of the day independence itself was not discussed. Instead delegates were asked to reflect deeply about what kind of country they wanted to live in, and to share these thoughts with the group.
The insights gained from the workshop offer a unique insight into what lies behind the campaign for Cape Independence. We hope that many people will be excited and encouraged by the shared vision which was revealed and will subsequently feel more comfortable engaging positively with the Cape Independence movement.
It was a vision of hope, respect, and human decency. This is what the key figures in the movement are striving to achieve:
1. Functional Democracy
Very much in keeping with the liberal traditions of the Cape, secessionists wanted a modern constitutional democracy which guaranteed freedom of speech and religion. They felt that minority groups should be protected and that key decisions should be taken on the basis of objective fact as opposed to political rhetoric. The state itself should be relatively small and focussed on serving the people.
2. Identity and Culture
Racial harmony and non-racialism were key themes. Secessionists wanted a strong Cape identity to be allowed to develop, one which is rooted in values rather than ethnicity. This identity should recognise and encompass the unique history of the Cape and create an environment of cultural respect and freedom.
3. Quality of Life
A safe living environment with first world infrastructure was viewed as an essential component of an independent Cape. A clean, safe, reliable, and affordable public transport system should serve the people of the Cape, and everyone should have access to decent health care and quality education in their mother tongue. Nobody should be locked out of the system.
Secessionists want the Cape to become the ‘Gateway to Africa’. It should make use of its key strategic location on a major shipping route and develop a diverse economy which is not overly-dependent on service industries. The economy should be much less regulated than at present and it should encourage, support, and reward entrepreneurship. Key sectors would include tech, tourism, agriculture, as well as business services.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, energy independence was considered critical, but there was a strong desire to develop an environmentally friendly energy sector with emissions and environmental impact being significant considerations. A mix of nuclear, renewables, and gas was proposed by some and a strategic energy consultant from the Netherlands assisted the group.
6. Law and order
A professional and efficient police force must command the respect of the people and maintain order in the province. Corruption must be strictly dealt with. The police should be free from undue political interference. The Cape’s borders must be strictly maintained with immigration managed fairly and objectively in accordance with international norms.
7. Legal system
Great concern was expressed about the state of the justice system in South Africa and there was unanimous belief that the Constitutional Court has now been ideologically compromised and no longer has the confidence of secessionists. In contrast, the Cape court system must be quick, efficient, and, above all, just. Political interference must not be allowed.
8. Image and Reputation
An independent Cape should be held in high international regard. It should be seen as an attractive destination in which to live, to work, to invest, and to visit. Skilled immigration should be encouraged and home-grown talent should be retained in the Cape. Retention of newly qualified graduates was identified as being particularly important.
What do YOU think?
We hope you enjoyed these insights. We would also really like to know what you think. We have created a short online survey called ‘The Cape We Want’ and, regardless of whether you support Cape Independence or not, we invite you to share with us the sort of country you would like to live in.