We can do better!!
The Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) has just completed the first major independence poll of 2020. It was conducted by Gareth van Onselen’s Victory Research, and, when the results are released in early September, the political landscape of the Western Cape will irrevocably be changed.
One of the questions asked in the poll was whether citizens believed their quality of life would improve in an independent Western Cape. Regardless of political affiliation, 53.1% of those who expressed an opinion thought there would be an improvement. Drilling down into that data is both fascinating and revealing.
That 83% of Democratic Alliance (DA) voters feel their quality of life would improve in an independent Western Cape is significant, but that 30% of African National Congress (ANC) voters and 11% of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) voters also felt their quality of lives would improve, is much more fascinating. The mind boggles at why the 30% still vote ANC, especially since 22% of ANC voters say they want Cape Independence. The Good party will also have some head-scratching to do; 78% of their voters say their quality of life would improve in an independent Cape, while 63% want to secede from South Africa. Should the CIAG expect your call, Patricia?
So, are they wrong?
Evidence supports poll results
Every shred of evidence available suggests that, no, they are not wrong. The lives of Western Cape citizens will markedly improve after independence. Eminent economist Dawie Roodt recently publicly confirmed that the Western Cape, along with Gauteng, was already subsidising the rest of South Africa. In simple terms, the Western Cape pays 13.9% in, and gets 10.1% back. The CIAG has privately consulted with several other leading economists, and they were unanimous on the view that, once freed from disastrous ANC policy, the Western Cape would thrive.
One economist described an independent Western Cape as a giant Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and pointed out – referencing Hong Kong as an appropriate comparison – that China had turned around its entire economy by pursuing exactly this policy. He went even further, suggesting that not only would the Western Cape benefit, but so would South Africa. “When your own country is struggling, do you want rich or poor countries next door?”
What happened to other countries that achieved independence?
I think almost everyone is aware of Singapore, a tiny country with no natural resources other than its geographical location on a major shipping route. South Africa became a republic in 1961, while Singapore gained independence in 1963. At the time, the South African economy was twenty times larger than that of Singapore, and South Africa’s population ten times bigger. Both countries pursued vastly different policies and, in 2019, Singapore’s economy became larger than South Africa’s.
Probably far fewer people are aware of Estonia. Following an independence referendum in 1991, Estonia broke away from the Soviet Union, and therefore the centralised control model favoured by the ANC, and embraced a free market economy. In 1995, Estonia ranked 112/217 on the Human Development Index (HDI), scoring 0.727. By 2018, Estonia had improved its score to 0.882, and its ranking to 30/189. In 1995, South Africa ranked 141/217, scoring 0.649, while in 2018, it is ranked 113/189, scoring 0.705.
Opinions differ greatly by race
In the polling, there was a strong racial divide in opinion. Of those expressing a view, 65.2% of coloured citizens expected their quality of life to improve in an independent Western Cape, while 97.5% of white citizens echoed this sentiment. In stark contrast, only 16.1% of black citizens expected their quality of life to improve.
This seems especially tragic, since by any objective measure, black citizens suffer the most under the current dispensation, and have the most to gain from independence. According to the poll, black citizens were the poorest (62% of families earning less than R5 000 per month), the most likely to live in informal housing (33%), the worst educated (59% did not have matric), and the most likely to be actively seeking work (35%).
One questions how, for black citizens, things could possibly get worse? It is probably not politically correct to mention the Stockholm syndrome. However bad things are for black citizens in the DA-run Western Cape, they are significantly worse in the rest of South Africa. The Western Cape has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) of all South Africa’s nine provinces, scoring 0.741, while the Eastern Cape has the lowest, scoring just 0.669.
Coloured citizens don’t fare much better in terms of the metrics quoted – income less than R5 000 (41%), informal housing (10%), no matric (43%) and seeking work (27%) – so movements like Gatvol Capetonian should come as no surprise to anyone. Where the coloured citizens of the Western Cape do differ is in recognising that the political status quo is not the answer. Gatvol Capetonian and the political party it gave birth to, the Cape Coloured Congress, both support an independent Western Cape.
We can do better
In 2020, in a country as naturally blessed as either the Western Cape or South Africa, there should not be poorly educated people who have to live in shacks, desperate for work, and surviving on a pittance. We can do better.
South Africans are getting the government they voted for. A foolhardy choice, perhaps, but a choice that is their right to make nevertheless. The Western Cape, however, is getting the (national) government it did not vote for, and has done almost everything in its power to get rid of. Time and options are fast running out. 73% of all Western Cape citizens feel South Africa is regressing.
Cape independence is the answer. We will all be better off.