Jan-Jan Not Yet There: Western Cape Secession: If you read the positions of those opposing Western Cape secession, one wonders if it requires a significant drop in IQ to join the club. Consequently, it is only with growing despair that one could have poured through Jan-Jan Joubert’s recent Die Burger article, claiming an independent Western Cape was impossible. It was so irrelevant that it could not go unanswered. Read MORE
Cape Party – 14 August 2020
Isn’t it amazing how often the “experts” get it wrong? Few experts predicted that the Soviet Union would collapse in 1991, the great recession of 2008, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 or Donald Trump in 2016 or the Brexit referendum in June of the same year.
Meteorologists and economists both have a hard time predicting the weather with 100% certainty or an oncoming financial crisis but there is one group of experts whose talents rise above all others, whose instincts reach heights no group can match: “The Cape Independence Doom Brigade” , an ever-growing list of editors, journalists and academics of the metropolitan elite who have never seen an international border that they like. Not only that, but they have never known an instance where an international border has changed. They claim to be ignorant of the countless examples of secession globally. In saying that Cape Independence can NEVER happen, they commit the most egregious error: Claiming to know the full history of the future of this world.
Lessons from History
In the 1960s South Korea had a smaller GDP than the newly independent West African state of Ghana. Conventional wisdom of the time gave it very little chance of economic success. Most experts of the time put their money on the more industrialised North Korea, who by Asian standards then stood second only to Japan. Today South Korea is an industrial and technological powerhouse with an economy 22 and a half times the size of North Korea. Fun fact – the territory of South Korea is smaller than the Western Cape.
History is littered with countless examples of conventional wisdom being defied by unpredictable outcomes, but this fact does nothing to stop the “Cape Independence Doom Brigade” .
This week it was the turn of UCT’s Bolshevik-Law Professor Pierre De Vos, to peddle the tired old line that Cape Independence is “unachievable”.
In a blistering diatribe De Vos, who has never witnessed one change in international borders in his life, opines that adherents of Cape Independence fail to: “.. address important practical questions such as how this new state will finance all the trappings of an independent state – the creation and maintenance of a defence force, of a new department of home affairs, and of a department of foreign affairs with the vast expense required to finance foreign missions across the globe”
De Vos seems to forget that the Union of South Africa inherited control of its defence force from the British Empire after the Balfour declaration of 1931, that it established a ministry of foreign affairs during the great depression when money was scarce and that the “trappings of state” are already there! All military installations have been paid for by the tax payers of the Western Cape many times over and will thus belong to that new state upon its independence.
He says nothing of the R240 Billion Rand in taxes the Western Cape pays per year to subsidise failing South African provinces, nor does De Vos entertain any ideas of how prosperous an independent Cape would be should it be free of ANC Rule.
The opponents of Cape Independence hold fast to numerous articles of faith. Among them is the idea that somehow the Cape can only reach independence via an act of the South African parliament. As though a bill would need to be introduced to legalize it and thus to bring it (The new state) to life. Almost like a mother giving birth to a baby.
International borders are not determined by legislation but rather by treaty. In other words, agreement by sovereign nations. Sudan did not split via an act of its national parliament, rather the national parliament of Sudan accepted into law what amounted to an international treaty already agreed upon by prominent states of the international community. It was an act of foreign policy in other words.
Secession does not fall into the realm of domestic law. You cannot legally secede via a court. This is different to saying secession is illegal though. These are not the same. There are no domestic legal mechanisms which one can trigger to bring into effect to an independent state, but this is not proof that De Vos is right about Cape Independence. De Vos is wrong because he ignores all successful examples of secession, and he thinks that South Africa could never break up under any circumstance.
So how exactly does one secede?
Some groups point to international laws and agreements, but secession is not a matter of international law or covenant. Those provisions simply exist to give legitimacy to groups wanting to break away. They have absolutely no practical use. There is no international court which can grant a state independence.
Secession is a political issue and it belongs to the realm of international relations. Therefore It cannot be separated from politics, from votes or from elections or from political parties. Secession is about the politics of South Africa. More precisely about how South Africa intends to deal with its very influential and vulnerable minority groups and what vision of the future those minority groups have for themselves and whether or not the international community will foresake those minorities at the altar of majority rule.
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