I am fascinated by politics. I find the dynamic of how we go about ruling ourselves to be something quite intriguing. Of course, one has to bear in mind that no matter where one finds oneself, there will always be people who exercise power and authority over other people based on a set of rules called law. However, the debate begins when we try to establish the legitimacy or authority of those rules, and whether or not a population has agreed to their implementation.
In South Africa, we are told that we have what is known as a constitutional democracy. That is to say, we have, supposedly, a democracy built upon the foundation of a broad legal framework, known as a constitution. So, let us unpack that for a moment. According to the broader definition of a democracy, we have "a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives." But, do we actually have this?
Every five years, we are called upon to vote for a party. That party, then, decides who will govern us, that is to say, which individuals will take up office. We, the voters, get no say into who the individuals are who ultimately run the country. That is wholly up to the party that is elected, and we trust that they will act in our best interests. Strangely, no one seems to question the wisdom of this system. We blindly hold to the hope that those running the elected party are qualified and competent enough to select the best and brightest from within its ranks. Clearly, this may be just a little naïve.
In the Western Cape, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been ruling since 2009. However, apart from a few metros, they find themselves unable to bridge the divide to supplant the African National Congress (ANC) as the ruling party of the country. Their support base in the Western Cape ensures that they run this province, and admittedly, they have done a pretty good job, but the Western Cape is but one of nine provinces and, therefore, the average DA voter here effectively gets vetoed at the ballot box by pure weight of numbers.
Taking the aforementioned two issues together, one is forced to concede that here in the Western Cape, we will never get the government we want and will always be dictated to by the other eight provinces. There is a solution, however, that was once considered desperate and radical but has gained support over the last few years. We, as a province, need to declare ourselves independent from the rest of South Africa. Only then, will we be free to put in place a government that represents our aspirations and values.
Who, then, will we entrust to take us forward as a new, fledgling nation? To my knowledge, there is only one party that has put forward a proposal which speaks to how we see ourselves. We want to be more involved in the processes of formulating legislation as people. We want a say into who rules us, the individuals that is. We want our constitution to speak for us according to who we are, not who we are told to be.
Enter, the Cape Independence Party. Founded in 2007 by Jack Miller, they are the only political party that has Cape secession as their raison d'être. There are many advocacy groups that promote Cape secession as well, but they have no authority to effect change other than raising awareness of the issue. Other political parties have voiced their support for the concept as well, but they have not made freeing the Cape their primary priority, nor have they offered alternatives to our electoral system, per se.
Reading the CIP manifesto, one soon discovers that whereas the ANC (as well as the DA to a lesser extent) are all about centralised government structures and dictatorial legislation, the CIP stand for the implementation of decentralized direct democracy in line with a Swiss Canton system, which effectively removes political power and devolves power down to voters/tax payers/citizens. Feel free to watch the video I have included, detailing what exactly that is. The easiest example to point at is the system of "proposals" that accompany elections in the United States, where people are asked about new laws that have been put forward, and whether or not they would like to see them enacted.
But the CIP takes things one step further. Referendum. Initiative. Nullification. Recall. The party advocates for grassroots participation in every step of the process, keeping elected government officials accountable to us, their employers, and putting in place structures where we can get rid of them if they do not perform. We have seen, time and time again, how the ANC closes ranks around embattled members in parliament. A vote of no confidence in any ANC "comrade" sees that party put out party orders, and woe betide any member who goes against it. It is as though no ANC member has an individual conscience. They put the welfare of their party ahead of the welfare of the country every time.
And then, one about the economics of it all? The Western Cape pays R250 billion into the fiscus of the country every year and only gets back about R55 billion in reinvestment into the province. In effect, the Western Cape is allocated back a mere 22% of the taxes paid in annually. I cannot name one business entity in the world that will accept that sort of ROI. We are being fleeced in order to prop up a wholly incompetent government in the rest of the country, where their model of education has ensured a wholly illiterate generation of unemployable individuals. We see the uptick in economic refugees from other provinces increase every year and we are left to carry the expense thereof. It places our economy under strain and puts pressure on our province to provide services to individuals who are not permanent residents and do not contribute anything towards these costs. After independence, the Cape would be 4 - 5 times better off, will be able to halve taxes, and still have enough to at least double all services like policing, education, health services, municipal services, and more.
The CIP looks to the example of Singapore as an economic model. It just makes sense. But, as anyone with half a brain can see, the ANC is a communist party in all but name. They want to be able to dictate to an illiterate voter bloc. It does not serve its purpose to produce critical thinkers within our society. They point to the Singapore model as the fruit of a colonial past, and bizarrely, dismiss it out of hand as a bad thing. They would effectively throw the South African baby out with the bathwater. Along with their enfant terrible, the EFF, they do all in their power to erode the right to own property, and this can be seen with their EWC efforts. If given their way, they would have all land belong to the state, and turn South African citizens into tenants of the government. This is not the South African way. But, then again, the ANC has never claimed to be an organisation "for the people", merely one that is "by the people", and that only in name.
Here, in the Western Cape, we all get along quite well. We are multicultural, we are multilingual, and we want to be a prosperous society where innovation, entrepreneurship, and initiative determine who is successful and to what degree. We want a free market economy. We want a small government that doesn't stifle our endeavours with bureaucracy. More to the point, we want a country that is everything that South Africa is not at the moment. We are sick of the race baiting. We are tired of the corruption. We have had enough of being dictated to by those who are wholly incompetent, corrupt, and, dare I say it, criminal.
We deserve better. We deserve to be heard. Give us a referendum, as per the rights enshrined in our constitution and international law, and let us decide our way forward.
I want to categorically state that I give the Cape Independence Party my 100% endorsement and I would encourage anyone reading this piece to visit the website to find out more about the party and what it stands for. Furthermore, if you are a Western Cape voter I would encourage you to join the fight, register as a CIP member and consider donating whatever you can spare toward the fight for our collective futures.