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Argument for Western Cape Secession deepens

09 April 2012, 16:57

As it is published on the front page of the Cape Party’s website, it is true that Mahatma Ghandi said, “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”

Some people may view an independent Cape Republic as ridiculous. However, the current state of South Africa may very well now call for a more serious look at the possibility of secession. The reason being that South Africa can rightly be seen as politically unstable if compared against other African countries, for example, such as Namibia, Tanzania and the Cameroon.

The recent attack on DA leader Helen Zille for her “refugee remarks” the over politicising of mundane issues or a storm-in-a-teacup must be seen as desperate attempts by the ruling party to focus their politics away from the party’s intensifying internal woes.

This instability, infighting in the ruling party, its youth league and the intensifying division of the country along racial lines is just one of the many concerns that are keeping international investors away from the region. In the end it is all about integrity and trust. This has a dire impact on the country in terms of employment and socio economics. In certain international circles is actually feared that SA is heading for a disaster.  The fact that the ANC was voted into power by a majority of the illiterate makes the ANC government nothing more than a populist regime.  The president ‘s academic record speaks for itself, the number of fraud and corruption charges against ANC and ANC supporters in the State, (i.e. our former Police Chief), the Auditor General’s report into mismanagement of government departments and  state assets are just some reasons for justification of a call for secession.

What is unique in the world is that South Africa is the only country in the world where laws exist to enforce discrimination against a minority. The question of BB-BEE laws actually promulgating discrimination against a minority is flying in the face of United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

When considering the unique demographic differences of the People of the Western Cape, the argument for self-determination can be justified.  The issue that a minimum of the population has Afrikaans as their home language, have a distinct and different set of values as well as cultural heritage, may very well be a very good reason for application towards self-determination.

Though certain law scholars may argue that secession in any form may be constitute treason and that such secession can only be achieved through revolution, many other Human Rights advocates argue that a peaceful negotiation with UN interventions may help drive the foundation for discussions around secession. Anyone of sane mind will certainly be in support of the latter.

In South Africa’s case, it is useful to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when considering the impact of legally enforced racism on grounds of employment and in specific the following articles of the Declaration;

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty

Article 23

Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

• (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

• (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

• (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests

The United Nations website is a source of information for those, like me, who are supporting the Western Cape’s secession from South Africa.  The UN Resolutions for Self Determination helps in providing the following information:

What options does your homeland (Cape Republic) have when deciding on its future constitutional status?

The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples says that all peoples have the right to self-determination.

 According to General Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) of 1961, there are three ways in which a Non-Self-Governing Territory can exercise self-determination and reach a full measure of self-government:

  • By free association with the administering Power or another independent State as a result of a free and voluntary choice by the people of the Territory expressed through an informed and democratic process;
  • By integrating with the administering Power or another independent State on the basis of complete equality between the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territory and those of the Independent State;
  • By becoming independent.

The UN also provides answers in terms of options;

“Whichever option the people of each Non-Self-Governing Territory freely elect, once they understand the possibilities and the special characteristics of their homeland.”

As mentioned, in this case the Western Cape has solid arguments in terms of heritage, cultural and linguistic demographic differences from the rest of the county. International Law scholars say there are enough grounds to justify a case for the people of the Western Cape.

I again quote the following from the United Nations own resolution.

“Can your homeland stay the way it is right now, if that is what the people want?

The mandate of the UN Committee of 24 is based on the principle that the result of the decolonization process would be one of the three above mentioned options (free association, integration with an independent State or independence).

 However, in 1970, a legal committee of the General Assembly adopted a declaration in which it is stated that, in addition to these three options, the emergence into any other political status, as long as it is freely determined by a people, can also be considered a way of implementing the right of self-determination by that people.

(This means that a referendum for secession and independence among the people of the Western Cape can be held and depending on its outcome, the SA government and the UN be approached with such an application.)

The UN provides the following information for the steps towards self-determination

Members of the UN Committee of 24 will need to meet with representatives of the Territory and of the administering Power to discuss the current constitutional status of the Territory and understand what the people would want to do.

Following these consultations, a study could be done on the options for self-determination in which the implications of each option will be explained in detail for the clear understanding of the people of a Territory.

Working closely together, the Committee of 24, representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territory and the administering Power will work out the steps towards an act of self-determination.

At the same time, the Committee of 24 together with representatives of the Territory and the administering Power will develop a public information programme on all the options and their implications.

The United Nations will help the Non-Self-Governing Territory to implement the act of self-determination.”

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