PRESS RELEASE: Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) calls on Premier Winde to retract his false statements on referendums in the provincial legislature
Winde tells provincial legislature (8 Sep 2022) that all South Africans would be permitted to vote in a referendum on Cape Independence, and, that elections and referendums are the same thing. Both statements are unequivocally wrong and deny the voters of the Western Cape their democratic and constitutional rights.
CIAG spokesperson Phil Craig says,
“It is not acceptable for the premier of the province to mislead the legislature on a matter of law.
We know the premier is personally opposed to Cape Independence, but if he wants to convince the majority of Western Cape voters who do want a referendum that one is not necessary, he should rather explain to them why he thinks remaining under the control of the South African national government is in their best interests.
Just because he cannot make that argument, nor make good on his 2019 election promises to deliver devolution to the province, does not justify deceiving voters about Cape Independence.
We call upon the premier to provide examples of independence referendums where the whole country rather than the territory seeking to secede got to vote in a referendum. When he cannot, we call on him to withdraw his remarks and to apologise.”
Self-determination is a fundamental principle of international law, where the authority of international law is affirmed in the South African Constitution, and is the legal basis for secession. The Premier cannot unilaterally remove the component of ‘self’.
In any event, observance of the South Sudanese, Scottish, Quebec, and numerous other referendums would establish this precedent beyond any reasonable doubt even if the premier were unaware of international law.
As to comparing referendums with elections, it simply cannot be that the premier is unable to distinguish between single issue referendums which transcend party politics, and local or general elections where politicians are elected. Only he knows why he would seek to conflate these two clearly distinct democratic acts.
65% of the voters who elected Premier Winde support a referendum on Cape Independence. Who must they vote for in the next election? Does the Premier want them to be forced to choose between the DA and independence?
Thus far, his party have gone out of their way to avoid such an eventuality by promising a referendum with a question on Cape Independence, and, whilst they do not support Cape Independence themselves, agreeing that ultimately it is a decision for Western Cape voters.
This begs the question, will Premier Winde call a referendum on Cape Independence if instructed to do so by his own party? They clearly hold different views.
DATE: 9 September 2022