How did we get here?


By Phil Craig

Under a DA government, the Western Cape became the top performer and best-managed province in South Africa. While we watched South Africa’s inexorable decline towards a failed state, many of us are very grateful that the DA was able to minimize the impact on our province.

It required two essential elements: a DA-led Western Cape government that might not be perfect, but at least aspired to provide clean and professional governance, and a Western Cape electorate willing to support a government on the ground. to appoint of merit.

Despite their best efforts, the DA could not repeat their success in the Western Cape in other parts of South Africa. The harsh reality is that the rest of South Africa is not prepared to appoint a government based on merit. The rest of South Africa sees the DA as a “white party” and has absolutely no intention of allowing the DA to rule over them.

Political realities

Cape independence is a very simple proposition and an inherently honest one. It doesn’t try to beat anyone around the bush, it’s not based on blind optimism, it simply looks at the world as it really is and plans accordingly.

The Western Cape wants to be governed efficiently and believes the DA is the party best placed to achieve this. Conversely, the Western Cape really does not like the ANC and the majority of Western Cape voters have never even once voted for it. Despite this, the Western Cape has been spared the entire post-1994 democratic era with an ANC government.

Outside the Western Cape, 73.1% of voters in 2019 voted for either the ANC or the EFF. Only 17.2% voted DA. Despite all the talk of the ANC’s imminent demise, and despite everything they already know, South African voters outside the Western Cape remain four times more likely to vote ANC or EFF than DA.

The elephant in the room is of course race. While we all strive for nonracialism, we largely vote along racial lines. The Western Cape has a fundamentally different demographic composition than the rest of South Africa. Where the DA does well in the rest of South Africa, it is almost exclusively where the demographics favor them.

These are simply the facts, and they cannot be wished away because they are uncomfortable.

Cape independence is the honest acceptance of this reality. Let South Africa be governed according to the wishes of South African voters, and let the Western Cape be governed according to the wishes of Western Cape voters.

Western Cape independence

Cape independence is now an integral part of the Western Cape political zeitgeist. Polls show that more than two thirds of Western Cape voters support a referendum to be held in order to determine the democratic will of the people of the Western Cape. The DA had earlier promised such a referendum.

To some extent it is understandable why Cape independence is a political hot potato for the national DA, but for the Western Cape DA and the Western Cape government it leads, it belongs to a so-called “no brainer” to be. The DA will most likely form the first government in an independent Western Cape, and almost all the problems they are currently trying to overcome will be addressed by independence.

The DA will then control economic policy and be able to deliver real economic growth. It will also control policing and be able to establish functional law and order. It will be able to control taxes and ensure that revenue is spent on service delivery and not on corruption. It will control transport and be able to upgrade the rail system and ports. This will control the border and promote legal migration and put an end to illegal land occupations.

Yet the Western Cape premier, whose primary goal is to act in the best interests of the people of the Western Cape, has become the most outspoken opponent of their rescue.

To personally oppose the idea is one thing – we are all entitled to our opinions – but to actively deny the people you serve the opportunity to express their opinions is something else entirely.

On 10 October, Prime Minister Winde formally confirmed that he would not call the referendum on Cape independence that his party had promised before the 2021 elections. Winde said he was very clear about Cape independence – he does not support it.

On October 19, the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) called a press conference to announce its response. The CIAG has suspected for some time that the DA will not fulfill their promises of 2021 and has contingency plans in place for exactly this eventuality. A single-issue referendum party will soon be launched which will enable voters to vote for a DA-led Western Cape government and a referendum on Cape independence. This party will keep the DA in power, but force them to listen to their own voters.

The Referendum Party

The CIAG has also published a “position document” which methodically outlines the actions they have taken in the three and a half years since their establishment and how they got to this point. It will not be easy reading for the DA, which is thereby exposed as an organization that fundamentally lacks courage when it comes to real change, and whose default setting is to do nothing or drag its feet rather than make difficult decisions in the to face

In short: When the DA promised in 2019 to fight for a professional devolved provincial police service and a safe and efficient rail service that worked on time, they had absolutely no idea how they were going to deliver it. It is therefore not surprising that, in the approaching end of their current government term, they still do not have a solution. Without the ANC’s consent, there will be no devolution of powers.

The DA officially accepted federalism as a policy and usually presented it as an alternative solution for Cape independence. Again, they had no idea how to deliver it, but the CIAG did. The CIAG drafted the Western Cape Nation Bill. The DA dragged its feet for months until the FF Plus took up the mantle and put the issue under pressure by tabled the bill. In response, the DA wrote their own watered-down version of the bill (Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill) in the hope of avoiding a deadlock on federalism. It failed.

The DA entered into an agreement with the CIAG on the referendum legislation and a referendum itself, but then broke both. They published the bill in the Government Gazette as promised, but after the election secretly canceled the legislation until it came to light. They finally tabled the legislation two years late. With the referendum itself, they tried to hide behind their own legislation. They only admitted that they were going to break their promise when they received a letter signed by 30 000 Western Cape voters demanding a “Yes” or “No” answer within seven days.

When the CIAG turned to social media to publicize the DA’s broken promises, the DA tried to censor it. They did so by claiming trademark infringement which gave the CIAG less than 24 hours to remove their posts. The CIAG refused, based on freedom of expression and challenged the DA to either refute or verify the accuracy of the CIAG’s claims. The DA did not do that either.

DA lacks courage

So, here we find ourselves now. The DA cannot deliver devolution and they will not deliver federalism even if they can. They cannot win power nationally, and without Cape independence they cannot deliver the best available outcome for the people of the Western Cape. They can govern the province well and they can keep the ANC wolf away from the door for a while longer (but certainly not forever).

The mightiest men in the Israelite army could not find the courage to confront Goliath. It took a humble shepherd boy with five pebbles and a slingshot.

If the DA cannot gather the courage to ask the people of the Western Cape if they want to get rid of the ANC (and the voters who keep choosing it) once and for all and demand the right to direct control over their future to take, Western Cape voters will have to muster up the courage for themselves.

The “Referendum Party” is now officially recruiting.

The Referendum Party has no intention of removing the DA, in fact they promise not to, but they are totally determined to let the DA stand their ground on Cape independence. Goliath is not going to disappear on its own.

  • Phil Craig is spokesperson for the Cape Independence Advocacy Group.