The Cape Party will again be contesting local government elections, in the hope they can force a referendum on whether the Western Cape should remain a part of South Africa.
The party seeks to use all constitutional and legal means to bring about independence for the Western Cape, Northern Cape (excluding two districts), six municipalities in the Eastern Cape, and one municipality in the Free State. It grew out of a Facebook group in 2007 and is led by Jack Miller, who was working as an actor when he first assumed the leadership. In 2009, it had a membership of about 1 000 people, according to their Wikipedia entry.
It was on the provincial ballot of the Western Cape in the South African general elections of 2009, where it received 2,552 votes, or 0.13% of the vote. The party complained bitterly that their posters were removed from poles by other parties.
Miller told eNCA on Tuesday that his “agenda is to get 5 000 votes in this election”, as that would give his party one seat in the Cape Town council, which would allow him to “bring his message to the political realm of South Africa”.
He said the party’s agenda was “greater autonomy for the Western Cape” and, if they were to get majority in the Western Cape, they would declare the province an independent country.
The channel’s Lester Kiewit called this “a long shot”. He pointed out that they received “only 1 471 votes” in the 2011 elections. “That’s 0.1% of the vote.”
Miller countered, however, by saying that their polls in Cape Town had indicated that in many major areas in the city “over 70% of people” were in favour of independence.
The party says it bases its plan “purely on economics”.
Miller complained that “76% of our revenue here in the Western Cape is taken out of our borders” by the national government.
“If we were independent, we’d be four times wealthier than we are right now.”
> > ALSO READ: Hofmeyr now wants a Wexit
The party cites various legal provisions and frameworks to support its position that the “Cape Nation” has a right to self-government. These include: the South African constitution, which guarantees the right to self-determination of any community sharing a common cultural and language heritage; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that all people have the right to self-determination and to pursue economic, social and cultural development, and that they may freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice.
The constitutional law scholar Pierre de Vos, however, has said the Cape Party could not secede without a revolution. As the constitution has created a unitary state, he has said that threatening the unity of the country would be treason.
The party has said it will seek to build consensus with the dominant political parties in the Western Cape, such as the DA. In response, DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said the Cape Party was “not a party we take seriously”.
A month ago, following the Brexit of Britain from the EU, singer-activist Steve Hofmeyr also casually longed for the secession of the Western Cape.
Hofmeyr tweeted: “Watch for Brexit contagion. Fexit, Nexit, Grexit, Swexit, Itexit and even Gexit. And Wexit (Western Cape!)”. To one of his followers, ulv løgner @Sinestra_Malum, who responded “@steve_hofmeyr if Wexit happens I’m there tomorrow.”
Hofmeyr added: “Brexit did it. Brits leads the way to self-determination.”