Cape Independence – A chimera or potential reality?

Phil Craig is one of many individuals rooting for Cape Independence. The spokesperson for the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) joined the BizNews Power Hour to discuss the idea – and possibility – of Cape secession. Craig tells Alec Hogg that CIAG wants “outright independence secession”, while parties like the DA “are not there yet, but have moved heavily towards autonomy.” He also weighs in on the Private Members Bill, explaining what it is and where it began. – Jarryd Neves

Phil Craig on his role in Cape Independence:

I’m the spokesperson for the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) and on this occasion, the various groups or several of the groups in the independence movement made a joint statement – and I was in the hot seat to do that. We are making really significant traction. It’s something that’s not going away because the problems that have caused it are getting greater and not lesser.

On the different advocacy/political organisations and their shared problem:

We all recognise there’s a huge problem that that’s that’s coming from the dominant political centre – which is the ANC – and that the future for the Western Cape is having more power. How much more power? On that, there’s a debate between us all. For us, we want outright independence and secession. The DA are not there yet, but they’ve moved heavily towards autonomy. Part of that is a change of philosophy, sort of. Most of that actually is [that] independence is a movement that’s led by the people of the Western Cape.

 It’s not come from a political party, then down to the people – it’s a real people’s movement. This latest move is symbolic of the strength of the movement, now forcing political parties to start taking it seriously and start engaging, to some extent, with what the people want.

On the DA (Democratic Alliance):

I think the DA’s position is an interesting one. I’ve always said that the DA have got themselves trapped in a box of their own making. The DA see the provisions of the Constitution and the law as absolute. They’re in a situation where they see problems, understand the problem, understand the cause of the problem and understand the solution – but feel they can’t actually enact that solution because something in the Constitution, the ANC or the division of powers stops them. 

On the Private Member’s Bill:

The Constitution – both the National Constitution (clause 1272f) and the Western Cape Constitution (372f) allow the premier of the Western Cape to call a referendum. The constitutional right for premiers to call a referendum already exists. But the National Constitution was 1996 and the last amendment to the Referendums Act – which is the legislation by which that will be enacted – was in 1992. You’ve got a scenario where the Constitution says premiers can call referendums, but you’ve got a law that says only presidents can call referendums. So the law itself is unconstitutional. This is now rectifying that law. Actually, there isn’t really any option for parliament. I’m sure they’ll fight over this. It’s in the Constitution. It’s the law [which] must be made constitutional, because that law is unconstitutional.

On the possibility of a Western Cape independence referendum:

One of the fascinating things with the Referendums Act as it currently stands, is that the referendum doesn’t have to be just on one question. I think what we’re likely to see is, is a referendum on general autonomy for the Western Cape. That’s likely to have lots of different questions. We would push very strongly for independence to be one of those questions on that referendum. I think the DA have already said they’re very keen for control of the police and railways.

You would hope there would be some question about about race-based legislation [and] expropriation without compensation. The DA want federalism, so you can expect federalism at some point as something they want to test. We want independence. Of course, there is a position between federalism and independence that doesn’t often get talked about – and that’s confederalism. That will also be something that, certainly from our side, we would like to explore alongside independence and federalism.

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