BNC#6: Phil Craig – Cape Independence is an essential survival strategy

During his keynote address at BNC#6 in Hermanus, Phil Craig asserted the viability and necessity of Cape Independence. The Referendum Party leader highlighted the threat of African nationalists and the Western Cape’s economic struggles under national governance. Craig urged action, emphasising the need for a referendum, contending that the DA’s reluctance poses the main obstacle. He advocated for supporting the Referendum Party to pressure the DA while cooperating with them. Craig emphasised that 2024 voting would determine the region’s future.

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Summary of Referendum Party leader Phil Craig’s keynote address at BNC#6 in Hermanus

00:07 Thank you for the privilege of addressing you today. The subject I chose was Cape Independence: fool’s errand or survival strategy? Cape Independence is now firmly established in South African political discourse. To some, it’s a silly dream, but to others, it’s essential to our survival.

00:36 A survey last year found 68% of Western Cape voters would favour a referendum on Cape Independence, with 58% supporting independence itself. Every major party has commented on it. As co-founder of the Cape Independence Advocacy Group and leader of the Referendum Party, I’m involved in the campaign.

01:05 I’ll address four questions: Is it possible, necessary, desirable, or is there an alternative? Is Cape Independence possible? Yes, politically and legally.

01:34 Political magnitude matters more than legalities. A referendum would be a legal revolution. If Western Cape votes for independence, it’s not just possible, it’s inevitable.

04:10 Is Cape Independence necessary? Yes, as a survival strategy against the dominance of African nationalists.

04:39 The majority group supports race-based policies, centralization of power, and threats to property rights. They’re becoming more radical.

06:32 African nationalists dominate outside the Western Cape. Their radicalism poses a threat.

09:53 Cape Independence is essential for survival if we want to maintain our way of life and a future for our children on the African continent.

10:24 Is Cape Independence desirable? Yes, it’s about self-determination, controlling our destinies, and creating a prosperous future.

13:44 An independent Western Cape will improve economic policies, reduce unemployment, and enhance services.

14:52 Listening to opponents reveals the kind of country we should aim to create.

17:44 No alternative but Cape Independence for a prosperous and functional society.

17:57 Delivering Cape Independence requires a referendum, which the Western Cape Premier can call without South Africa’s permission.

18:56 The biggest obstacle to Cape Independence is the DA’s reluctance to call a referendum.

20:07 Pressure the DA to call a referendum through voting for the Referendum Party, which promises to cooperate with the DA while pushing for independence.

21:32 Your vote in 2024 will determine your future: a first-world independent Western Cape or a failed South African state. Thank you.

*The above transcript has been condensed and paraphrased for brevity and clarity, and may not capture the full context or nuances of the original speech delivered by Phil Craig at the Biznews conference, BNC#6.

Read the full transcript of Phil Craig’s keynote address at BNC#6 in Hermanus ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Thank you very much and thank you for the privilege of addressing you today. The subject that I chose was Cape Independence. Is it a fool’s errand or is it a survival strategy? And love it or hate it, Cape Independence has now firmly been established in the South African political discourse. To some, it’s a silly, unobtainable pipe dream, but to others, it’s an article of faith which is essential to our very survival.

which was conducted in August last year, found that 68% of Western Cape voters would favour a referendum being held on Cape Independence, with 58% saying that they favoured Cape Independence itself, and every major political party has now felt it necessary to publicly comment on the subject. And as co-founder of the Cape Independence Advocacy Group and more recently leader of the Referendum Party, I’ve been intimately involved in the campaign

Cape Independence and today I’d briefly like to address four questions which should give us all a better understanding of what Cape Independence entails. Is it possible? Is it necessary? Is it desirable? And is there an alternative? So is Cape Independence really possible? Well the answer of course is yes. Almost anything is possible.

And when it comes to Cape Independence, the process is relatively simple, which of course is very very different from saying it will be easy because it will not. Those who claim Cape Independence isn’t possible tend to do so based upon a very formulaic reading of the Constitution, which both totally disregards both political realities and the wider legal universe which includes international law. And I could lay out

for you in great detail the legal argument that explains why they’re wrong and how Cape independence is legally possible. But in doing so we’d all be missing the point. This is because most of us have totally underestimated the sheer political magnitude of what the Western Cape people voting legally in a referendum for Cape independence would mean. There hasn’t been a single referendum in the entire democratic era.

So I want you for a moment to imagine waking up in South Africa the day after the Western Cape has voted to leave. It’s the end of a hard fought six month referendum campaign and Cape independence has dominated the news cycles every single day of those six months. And now, under the watchful eye of international observers, the IEC has announced the results. The world’s press.

are reporting that the Western Cape has voted to secede from South Africa and thousands upon thousands of people are now wildly celebrating in the streets. I want you to put yourself in that moment and to imagine how it would feel and then to tell me that you honestly think as some would have us believe that South Africa can simply ignore the entire event and go about its business as if nothing has happened at all.

A referendum on Cape independence is a legal revolution. This is exactly why when considering the significance of independence referendums, the Supreme Courts of both Canada and the UK have effectively found that in a democracy you simply cannot ignore their outcomes because they are the clearly demonstrated democratic will of the people. So is Cape independence possible?

Well if the Western Cape people vote for Cape independence in a referendum, it’s not just possible. It’s not even just likely Cape independence will be inevitable.

But is Cape Independence necessary? Well Cape Independence supporters are often accused of having a lager mentality. If anybody accuses me of having a lager mentality, they’re absolutely correct. I do, and so should you. A lager is a highly successful strategy through which vulnerable groups of people operating in hostile territory where they’re greatly outnumbered

defend everything they hold most dear from destruction. This is exactly the situation with ideological minorities in South Africa find themselves in today. Because South Africa is divided into two camps. The largest and politically dominant group is the African Nationalists. The African Nationalists at best pay lip service to the concept of non-racialism and at worst they reject it outright.

They support race-based policy, the centralisation of power in the state, their inherently hostile towards business and intent on weakening or removing property rights. On their agenda is expropriation without compensation, privatising the Reserve Bank, the destruction of the private health service and an increased role for state-owned enterprises. Extreme elements are literally threatening genocide.

Their global outlook is eastward and not west. And we mustn’t fool ourselves into thinking that this is some fringe group and that the South African populace is somehow benign. If we’re to understand the scale of the threat that African nationalists truly pose, we must not just look at South African election results as a whole, but instead we need to remove the Western Cape.

which is the only province where African nationalists do not hold sway and to examine what then remains. And in 2019, 73.1% of voters outside of the Western Cape voted either ANC or EFF, whilst only 16% voted DA and most of those votes were cast in areas where ethnic minorities are highly concentrated.

And it’s also critical to recognise that African nationalists are not becoming more moderate, they are becoming more radical. And in 2021, now polling, we asked Western Cape voters this question. Do you believe that South Africa belongs equally to everyone, regardless of their race? Or do you believe it belongs primarily to Africans and other races should behave as guests? And in 2021,

45% of black voters in the Western Cape said that other races should behave as guests. When we asked that same question in 2023 two years later, the number had increased from 45% to 69%, with only 31% of black voters in the Western Cape believing in the concept of non-racialism.

And the dream scenario for African nationalists is exactly the one which is likely to unfold in the 2024 elections. That the ANC cannot form a government on its own, but instead its hold on political power becomes dependent upon its more radical allies. And that should terrify us. Why? Because almost everybody in this room belongs to the other count.

and has everything to lose when a more radical version of the African nationalists inevitably comes to power. Our camp believes in genuine non-racialism. That South Africa really does belong equally to everyone regardless of their race. That property rights are an essential element of a vibrant economy and that economic success is the only viable foundation for a prosperous future for all.

We believe that the state should have limited capacity, that power should be decentralised and that free markets can address most of our challenges and our global outlook is westward and not east. We currently hold one province where for now we form an ideological majority, but for how long will that remain true? And we must not blind ourselves to the reality of our situation.

A toxic mix of economic desperation, the breakdown of family values and illegal land invasions on a vast scale means that our ideological hegemony in the Western Cape will at best last another ten years. This is a point which Cape Town Mayor Jordan Hill Lewis readily conceded to me when he said Phil, in ten years time you might have been right and I might have been wrong.

that in 10 years time it’ll all be too late. So it may be an uncomfortable truth, but if we as non-racialists and capitalists want to have a home at Africa’s southern tip, then we need to create an ideological homeland for ourselves which we can control before the opportunity is lost forever. And we don’t need to imagine what the alternative will be.

because Zimbabwe stands in living testimony of what our future will look like without it. So is Cape Independence necessary? Well if you want to keep on living the life that you currently live, and if you want a future for your children on the African continent, then it’s time to circle the wagons. Because Cape Independence is quite literally essential to our survival.

Is Cape Independence desirable? Well the essence of the fight for Cape Independence is the inalienable and unquestionable right of all people to self-determination. And in 2014 the United Nations described self-determination like this. In its essence, the right of self-determination means that individuals and peoples, us, should be in control of our destinies.

and should be able to live out our identities whether within the boundaries of existing states or through independence. And since 1994 the majority of Western Cape voters have never once been governed at a national level by the party they voted for, and they have no reasonable prospect of it ever happening in the foreseeable future.

in the rest of South Africa. And working purely with empirical data, what have the consequences been to the Western Cape people of not being able to make their own decisions? Economic growth over the last decade has averaged 1.1% in the Western Cape, whilst population growth has averaged 1.6% and the Western Cape people are getting poorer. 35% of the Western Cape’s income

is used to subsidise other provinces which are being mismanaged under ANC rule and that money could have been spent on providing services to the Western Cape people. Unemployment in the Western Cape is currently 25.6% compared to 25.7% a decade ago and one in four people in the Western Cape remain needlessly unemployed.

The Western Cape had an uninterrupted electricity supply for just 33 days out of 365. And the Western Cape people could have had electricity. The murder rate in the Western Cape at 56 murders per 100,000 people is higher than in any other nation on earth. And the Western Cape High Court has declared that the senior management of SAPs in the province is corrupt. And the Western Cape people

are living in fear for their lives. Passenger rail services in the Western Cape have collapsed, with journeys down from 49.2 million a decade ago to just 3.2 million now, and trains no longer serve the majority of the Western Cape people. And who is responsible for each and every one of these atrocious statistics? The National Government.

which the majority of the Western Cape people have never once voted for. So is Cape independence desirable? Well let’s consider how different these statistics would look in an independent Western Cape. Controlling economic policy and creating a business environment conducive with investment and employment will almost instantly increase revenues and reduce unemployment.

and embracing IPPs will increase the electricity supply. Taking control of the police service, reinstating merit as the key selection criteria, removing corrupt officers, professionalizing the service, and increasing convictions, together with reducing unemployment, will drive crime rates down. And partial or full privatization of the rail service will bring our part of Africa’s largest rail network back into productive use.

In short, an independent Western Cape will quickly become an African Utopia. But please don’t take my word for it. Instead I want you to listen to those who are most opposed to Cape Independence. What do they say? What do the DA say? How are you going to keep all the people out? Everybody is going to want to go there.

Doesn’t that sound like exactly the sort of country we should be creating?

Are there then any alternatives to Cape Independence? If you listen to our political opponents, there are three. Devolving powers to the Western Cape, federalism or somehow saving all of South Africa. Well if we could have saved all of South Africa, I think we’d have done it already. It is now clear from polling that in the 2024 elections the majority of South African voters will once again

vote for either the ANC, the EFF or Jacob Zuma. And we simply have to accept that the majority of people in South Africa do not think like we think and they do not want the solutions which we consider essential to our prosperity and essential to our survival. The DA claims that the devolution of powers is a viable solution, but this is pure fantasy.

If we cannot control economic policy, if we cannot choose who our international allies are, if we cannot control our own borders, but instead we lead all of these things in the hands of an ANC EFF government, then how on earth could we possibly save the Western Kingdom? And even if devolution were the solution, the DA simply cannot deliver it. And how can I say this with such certainty?

because the DA have had an outright majority in the Western Cape for 15 years. Yet despite having the collective support of civil society, academia and several other political parties through the Western Cape devolution working group, they have spectacularly failed to deliver devolution. And that’s because devolution is not possible without the consent of the national government.

What then about federalism? Well like devolution, federalism will not deliver control of the key levers of power, leaving them instead in the hands of the ANC and likely the EFF. But in any event, federalism is actually harder to achieve than independence, because federalism requires a change of the constitution, where independence does not. And the inescapable reality is this.

If we want to create a prosperous and functional non-racial society, which recognises the critical role which business and investment plays in improving the welfare of the people, where law and order is respectfully but firmly imposed, where the global outlook is westward not east, and where we can imagine our descendants living contentedly for generations to come, then there is simply no

other alternative but Cape Independence. And if you’re not planning to emigrate then you need to help us save the Western Cape now while we still can.

Now this should leave one final critical question. How do we deliver Cape independence? And if I’ve made my case for Cape independence clearly enough today, then I hope the answer is already clear. We must ensure that a referendum on Cape independence is held, which we are then almost certain to win. Many of the people in this room will be DA funders, many more DA voters.

And whilst they’re not perfect, the DA have done a good job of running the Western Cape, certainly incomparably better than the ANC. So what I say next is critically important to understand. The biggest obstacle to Cape independence is not the ANC and it’s not the EFF. The biggest single obstacle to Cape independence is the DA.

The Western Cape does not need South Africa’s permission to call a referendum on Cape Independence. Instead, the Constitution empowers the Western Cape Premier and only the Western Cape Premier to call one. The DA can deliver Cape Independence, but is choosing not to. Which brings us then to the business end of this speech.

Cape independence is a practical and viable solution to the problems which confront us, and in truth is probably the only viable solution, but activists like me cannot deliver it alone. So in the final reckoning, it’s you who is going to decide whether Cape independence succeeds or fails. Are you willing to leverage the donations and the votes which many of you are giving to the DA?

force them to call a referendum on Cape Independence? And if the DA aren’t willing then to listen to you, just as I’ve ignored the 68% of Western Cape people who want a referendum to be held, then what are you going to do about it?

I hope that the answer for many is that you’re going to vote for the referendum party. We created the referendum party to offer voters a safe way to pressure the DA led Western Cape Government into calling a referendum on Cape independence whilst not removing them from power and risking the return of the ANs. In our manifesto at the referendum party we’ve promised that we will vote with the DA

to allow them to form a Western Cape government, and we’ve promised that we will vote with the multi-party charter to do our part in removing the ANC from power nationally. Our sole purpose as a political party is to force the DA to call a referendum on Cape independence which will establish an ideological homeland for people who think like we do. And in doing so, to allow us

to determine our own destiny. And our message as a party is very, very simple. You can choose a first world future in an independent Western Cape, or you can choose to live in a failed South African state. And how you vote in 2024 will determine which one of these two very different realities.

becomes your future. Thank you.

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