The Cape’s broad civic and political coalition step out of the shadows
The iconic winelands town of Stellenbosch, and the less well known suburb of Cloetesville, initially a repository for many of those cleared from the infamous District Six, literally swayed to the beat of its own drums on Saturday, when the Cape independence movement chose this moment to bare its political teeth.
This year’s Kaapse Klopse carnival might have been cancelled in Cape Town, but the inimitable culture of the Cape was rhythmically pounded out one beat at a time as hundreds swayed and marched the 3.6km route from Cloetesville to the Stellenbosch Town hall, where a petition demanding genuine democracy for the people of the Western Cape, and the protection of the Cape culture, was handed over to Wayne Smith, on behalf of DA Mayor Gesie van Deventer.
In sharp contrast to the recent political thuggery of the EFF, the sizeable police presence had little else to do but soak up the infectious joy de vivre of a Cape people so used to marginalisation and oppression, but whose spirits for a few hours were allowed to soar free as the town was brought to a magical standstill. Children and pensioners, rich and poor, coloured, white and black marchers made it a day that, truly, no-one will ever forget. Yesterday, the Cape was once again one nation.
At the business end of the march, the CIAG, CapeXit, the Cape Party, the Freedom Front plus, and the Bruin Bemagting Beweging emphatically demonstrated to the Western Cape DA that a focus on national politics, at the expense of the Cape electorate, was not going to be tolerated.
Phil Craig (CIAG) pointed out that, in a genuine democracy, the party with 28.6% of the vote doesn’t get to dictate to the party with 55% what it must do, and that if you can’t reject a government you don’t approve of at the ballot box, then you don’t actually have democracy.
Veteran politician and firebrand Peter Marais, representing both the Freedom Front Plus and the Bruin Bemagtiging Beweging, was far less diplomatic, declaring that Cape culture was under attack. He then directly challenged Julius Malema, proclaiming don’t think you scare us with your knobkerries, the brown people are not scared of you.
Like the CIAG, Jack Miller, leader of the Cape Party, struck a more conciliatory tone, stating that an independent Cape would become the true rainbow nation that South Africa promised, yet never delivered. CapeXit did not address the crowd directly but were congratulated by several speakers for having collected six hundred thousand signed and referenced written mandates in support of Cape independence.
In recent weeks, the DA have adopted federalism, voted to clear the way for a provincial referendum, and resolved to defy the ANC in the Western Cape when its instructions are illogical or immoral. It is hard to believe they are not already shoring up the ship for the independence storm that is surely coming.