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By Zanele Mbengo


Secession: The Cape ‘won’t split from SA’

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde denounces secession notion, calling it mischievous and detrimental to economic growth and inclusivity.

An attempt by the Referendum Party (RP) this week to bring attention to its country-splitting manifesto, which would see the Western Cape secede from the rest of South Africa, was met with ire across the board yesterday, and Western Cape premier Alan Winde was having none of it.

Winde said the Western Cape government had been clear it did not support the notion of the province seceding from the rest of the country.

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“The conflation of the issue of secession and of devolution of power is grossly incorrect, mischievous and serves no purpose in our critical aim of growing our economy to create more jobs and making our communities safer,” he said.

Not interested in copying Orania

RP leader Phil Craig stated the party was not interested in copying Orania, where people had bought a farm and successfully developed it.

The RP was not looking to exclude anybody in the Western Cape, but wanted to go the collective route, he said.

Orania was private and excluded black people and the RP was in favour of a non-racial country, said Craig.

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He said the Western Cape had a border which was “symbolic”.

“The Western Cape has a parliament and constitution. It has a voters role.

“We don’t need to buy land, we have it and it’s called the Western Cape. We’re not looking for something else,” he noted.

Racism and provocation in Western Cape

The ANC has called out the RP for acts of racism and provocation in Western Cape.

“The nation witnessed with shock and utter contempt the searching of black people and the closure of the R62 between the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces by unauthorised secessionist vigilantes,” said Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, ANC national spokesperson, referring to a video supposedly showing this.

Bhengu-Motsiri said this was a reminder there was a well-orchestrated plan for an independent Western Cape.

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But Craig said no cars were stopped and nobody was searched.

“Somebody spliced two different videos together. That minibus and the trailer are ours. It’s us putting our own luggage into our own trailer,” he said.

Calling for referendum on independence

The RP launched its election manifesto in Western Cape and Craig has called for a referendum on independence.

He said the referendum would ask the people of the Western Cape – about 3.2 million registered voters – whether they support Cape independence and the province breaking away from SA and forming its own country or if they wanted to remain a part of SA.

“We’re pursuing Cape independence based upon the democratic will of the Western Cape people.

“So if we have a referendum and the people vote to stay in SA, we’ll accept that outcome,” Craig said.

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He explained the RP was a different party from the Cape Independence Party and emphasised his party was on all ballot papers.

“We’re on the Western Cape provincial ballot, the regional ballot and the national ballot.

“Cape Independence Party is a different political party that has nothing to do with us,” he said.

‘Silly to grant a referendum like that

Amanda Gouws, from the South African Research Chairs Initiative at Stellenbosch University, said it would be “silly to grant a referendum like that” and described it as dead in the water.

Gouws noted there was an issue because a party in KwaZulu-Natal had asked for the independence of KwaZulu-Natal.

“It’s dangerous when we go down this road of all kinds of little states.

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“I don’t think any of these provinces should even have a request for a referendum granted,” she said.

“We are a unitary state with nine provinces and none of these provinces are economically independent.

“You can’t talk about changes to a constitution if you haven’t even had a referendum,” she added.

‘Abhorrent and despicable acts’

Bhengu-Motsiri said it pandered to the Democratic Alliance, supported by the Cape Independence Party through the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill and plans of secession.

“These abhorrent and despicable acts are a blatant violation of human rights, desecration of our constitution and acts of criminality punishable by law, which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by peace-loving South Africans,” she said.

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