Cape Independence

Photo by David Rogers / Getty Images

Cape Independence: Could Northern, Eastern Capes ALSO split from SA?

If the Western Cape secedes from South Africa, could other regions join the exodus? Cape Independence may well go beyond provincial borders…

Cape Independence

Photo by David Rogers / Getty Images

A hornet’s nest has been kicked this week, and talk about Cape Independence is now buzzing on social media. As AfriForum weigh-up a court bid to secure ‘more powers’ for provincial governments, one of their key focus areas is the self-determination of the Western Cape – but could other provinces follow in the south-west?

Will the Western Cape become its own country?

The broad idea of Cape Independence is for the Western Cape to secede from the rest of South Africa, becoming its own independent country. Those who fervently back this proposal believe that their regional GDP, infrastructure, and systems of governance are robust enough to go it alone as a separatist nation.

However, the clamour to split up the Republic of South Africa doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. In fact, some cynics compare the Cape Independence movement to the town of Orania – a whites-only, Afrikaaner enclave situated three hours away from the border with the Western Cape.

Cape Independence: Which regions would leave South Africa?

The debate is a tricky one to negotiate – not least because of the alleged threat of civil war and the dubious legal framework pro-independence groups use in favour of their arguments to break away. The issue, however, may not be contained solely to the WC, and at least TWO other provinces could lose districts to this move…

That’s according to Phil Craig of the Cape Independence Advocacy Group. He spoke earlier this year about the scope of a separate state, and mulled just how far the boundaries would extend. In his view, there is a *possibility* that border towns in the Northern and Eastern Capes ‘could also break off leave South Africa’.

  • However, there are still plenty of hurdles to clear on that front.

“After three decades of election results, it’s obvious the Western Cape wants something different. Initially, we will focus on the Western Cape. One of our main arguments is based on these ideological differences at the ballot box. That is much harder to achieve elsewhere. The Northern Cape, for example, votes ANC.”

“It’s much harder to argue they want independence from the government. What is likely to happen if we get close to a referendum, is we’ll have a discussion about what happens to municipalities on the other side of the provincial borders.”

Cape Independence ‘may go further than the Western Cape’

The Cape Party, which recently reformed to become the Cape Independence Party, have previously argued that ‘most of the Northern Cape’ should also secede from Mzansi. But the Advocacy Group believe that the first thing they should be looking at, if a ‘CapeXit’ referendum gets the go-ahead, is nearby administrative territories.

Involving whole provinces wouldn’t suit the ideological arguments of the Western Cape, and proximity to the province’s borders could exclude willing regions from joining the proposed new state. Orania, therefore, may remain an enclave in the Northern Cape wilderness – even if Cape Independence is achieved in the years ahead.

“We are only seeking to fulfil the democratic will of the people. After the Western Cape, we must discuss the borders with the Northern and Eastern Capes. What happens if the majority of people in certain municipalities don’t vote for the ANC?”

“Many of the municipalities along the Western Cape border do not vote ANC, and in time, based upon the democratic will of the people at the municipal level, there may be an opportunity to adjust the border to accommodate municipalities that wish to be included in the ‘Cape of Good Hope’.” | Phil Craig