western cape independence ff plus secession

Photo: Flickr / AGCJ

FF Plus says Western Cape ‘should consider independence from SA’

Controversial, yes. But impossible? Perhaps not: The FF Plus now believes that ‘independence from South Africa’ is a potential choice for the Western Cape.

western cape independence ff plus secession

Photo: Flickr / AGCJ

Well, we all know what a crazy year 2020 has been. Perhaps the only thing that could top it off properly is this: The FF Plus (Freedom Front Plus) – South Africa’s fifth-largest political party – has stated that the Western Cape should consider ‘secession’ from the rest of the country, by seeking independence and becoming an individual nation.

The case for an independent Western Cape

Corne Mulder is the FF Plus Chief Whip and provincial leader in the Western Cape. He addressed the Cape Town Press Club about the possible political options available to the people in the south-west. As Mulder pondered what the future looks like for this part of Mzansi, he strayed into to some fairly contentious territory:

“If I argued 12 months ago that the Western Cape should go for independence, people would have laughed and not listened at all. Many things can happen in 12 months. Why should the people of the Western Cape be satisfied with this incompetence, corruption and systematic collapse under the guise of a so-called wonderful democracy?

Corne Mulder

What is the argument in favour of secession?

Amongst other things, Mulder argues that the Western Cape is well-suited for independence, based on these factors:

  • He sees the Western Cape as ‘ideologically different’ from the rest of South Africa.
  • Mulder says there’s ‘a lot to read into’, considering that it is the only province in 26 years that has never given the ANC a majority.
  • The FF Plus representative also praised the prominence of ‘capitalist beliefs’ being stronger here than anywhere else in SA.
  • With 11% of South Africa’s population – and a 13% contribution to the national GDP – Mulder is confident the province could ‘stand on its own two feet’.

‘Secession is ridiculous, regressive claptrap’, critics claim

This policy, however, is regarded as highly problematic. It seeks to divide South Africa, separating one of its most iconic and beloved regions from the rest of the country. Words matter in a democracy like ours and the campaign for a breakaway is often met with fierce criticism. The DA’s Phumzile van Damme did the honours earlier this year:

“That this is something that requires debate is astounding. The Western Cape is part of South Africa. And always will be. And always should be. If you don’t want to live in South Africa, well don’t live in South Africa. It is ridiculous, divisive, regressive, exceptionalist, nationalist claptrap.”

Phumzile van Damme

Is Western Cape independence possible?

But in the face of a likely backlash, Mulder and the FF Plus believe there’s a real appetite for Western Cape independence. He anecdotally claims that government corruption, which ran riot during the pandemic, has mobilised people on the ground who now ‘yearn for a Cape-xit’ – and the party is seeing this option as something more than a pipe dream.

“On social media there are currently in-depth discussions about the option of an independent Cape. Some are arguing for more autonomy whilst others want a referendum. This huge surge is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the irrational and sometimes laughable regulations by the ANC government.”

“Add to that endemic corruption and lawlessness under this government and it’s clear why independence becomes a more and more attractive option for people of the Western Cape. The province can be developed into an example of economic growth and prosperity. Where we have equal opportunities for all, and where poverty will be eradicated.”

Corne Mulder