The FF Plus on 22 June 2023, tabled a bill in the Western Cape Legislature requesting the recognition of West Capetonians as a distinct people with the right to self-determination.
This request is based on international law as well as the South African Constitution, and aimed at allowing the people of this area to express their unique character with its distinct cultural, linguistic and ideological values.
Section 235 of South Africa’s Constitution provides for this.
It states: “The right of the South African people as a whole to self-determination, as manifested in this Constitution, does not preclude, within the framework of this right, recognition of the right of self-determination of any community sharing a common cultural and language heritage, within a territorial entity in the Republic or in any other way, determined by national legislation.”
The bill adds to this by recognising the Western Cape people as “clearly distinct” from the South African population as a whole.
Therefore, West Capetonians have the right to freely determine their political status, and to pursue economic, social and cultural development in the way they chose to.
The Western Cape’s own Constitution further embodies this right by clearly referring to the rights of the people of the “Western Cape”. As well as to West Capetonians’ endeavour to develop and make progress.
This right is currently not being exercised as the people of the Western Cape, like the rest of the country, are under the duress of a dysfunctional ANC government. It is governance by force and not by choice.
It should be noted that on 9 July 1996, the South African government ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
This Charter states that “All peoples have the right to self-determination, and to pursue economic and social development policies according to their own choice.”
In 1998, South Africa also ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states, among other things, that “all peoples have the right to self-determination”.
In 2015, South Africa further ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which links to the aforementioned.
Government has, therefore, fully subjected itself to legal and international provisions relating to its obligations towards minority rights and cultural groups.
Self-determination takes on various forms, but it will ultimately have to be determined by the people of the Western Cape themselves through negotiations and a referendum.
Section 37(2)(f) of the Western Cape Constitution makes provision for the premier to hold such a referendum in consultation with national government.
The matter is now in the hands of the DA, which must determine whether this is the will of Western Cape residents.
In the FF Plus’s view, the situation in South Africa under ANC rule has reached a turning point and this matter cannot be postponed any longer.
The hourglass for self-determination is running out fast, and merely gaining provincial authority over train services and the police does not adequately address the urgent needs of all West Capetonians.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Peter Marais on FF Plus