NEWS & ANALYSIS

Free the Western Cape

David Bullard says the province has become a well-governed embarrassment to the rest of SA

OUT TO LUNCH

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As the saying goes, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your relatives. So when the drunken uncle gets up on the dance floor at his niece’s 21st birthday party as soon as he hears the opening strains of Satisfaction and does his impersonation of Mick Jagger you just have to grin and bear it. And bribe the DJ not to play any more Rolling Stone’s songs.

Drunken uncles are relatively harmless as far as family harmony is concerned. Of greater concern are those family members that develop anti social habits such as stealing, drug dealing, fraud, violence, kiddy-fiddling and so on. It’s bad enough when it remains an embarrassing family secret but when these character failings become public knowledge and the media wild dogs have ripped the carcass apart it must be unbearable for members of the family.

Does Mrs Rolf Harris still meet friends for a morning coffee I wonder? Can close relatives of Markus Jooste still visit their favourite winelands restaurants without having to endure fellow guests whispering to one another behind cupped hands?

The only solution when future survival is at stake is to acknowledge the failings of your relative and publicly disown the errant family member. It’s known as tough love but by doing so you admit that you’ve recognized the problem before it becomes a public embarrassment and taken drastic action. Only by getting rid of the black sheep of the family is it possible for the rest of the family to move forward with head held high.

The Western Cape belongs to a family with plenty of highly embarrassing family members. In fact, it could be argued, that within the family known as South Africa it is only the Western Cape that has shown any sign of becoming a trustworthy and upstanding member of the community. Which is why it’s high time the Western Cape bade farewell to it’s ne’er do well kin and struck out on its own.

Of course this is a slightly different scenario from the usual family one I used as an illustration. In this particular case the entire family is rotten to the core with the shining exception of the Western Cape. It’s something of a miracle that one child has turned out so well having been brought up in a family of thieves, drunks and liars.

The time has come for the Western Cape to cut itself off from the economic wasteland that SA has become under the ANC and demand independence. It is the only properly run province in South Africa and its continued association with the rest of the country can only be detrimental to its long term mental and financial wellbeing.

There can be no doubt that the Western Cape, if it became independent, would be able to be self sustaining within a very short while. In fact, within a few years it would completely show up its neighbours.

Once rid of the commie wet dream of the national democratic revolution that the ANC so fondly nurture, the Western Cape would have no problem at all in attracting foreign investment. Property rights would be sacrosanct and the rule of law would apply to all citizens, including politicians. A new currency would be created for the newly independent Republic of the Western Cape (RWC) which would be managed by an equally independent central bank. Initially it would trade at parity to the ZAR but would very quickly appreciate as investors came to understand and appreciate the relaxed labour laws and tax breaks associated with doing business in the RWC.

Projects that were impossible while the Western Cape still fell under the gloomy shadow of the greater RSA will once again be possible. Desalination plants that were rejected simply because they involved Israeli expertise and might upset the Palestinians would be back in play. Electricity supply would no longer be unreliable with both solar panels and wind turbines providing power. Eskom as an entity would cease to exist in the RWC.

Medical care in the Western Cape is already way ahead of much of the rest of the country with some of the finest specialists in the world practicing down here. Rather than drive them overseas with absurd threats of a state run health scheme we would seek to make them feel very welcome and promote the Western Cape as an international health destination. That would help fund a more realistic universal health care system.

The most important thing though is that we would be able to decide the size of government needed. With no more cadre deployment and the promotion of utterly useless individuals to important portfolios we would be able to appoint the right person for the job.

Naturally this will mean that the current parliament building will be surplus. It would make a splendid hotel of course but maybe we should open it as a permanent exhibition to remind future citizens of the RWC of the disaster we could have become had we not attained our independence.

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Demonstrations in Hong Kong are now in their twelfth week and TV coverage over the weekend showed huge crowds marching peacefully under umbrellas in the pouring rain. Some sources put the numbers on the streets at more than a million and a half people. The demonstrations started as an objection to a proposed extradition bill which would allow mainland China jurisdiction over Hong Kong citizens, undermining the autonomy of the region which was agreed under the “one country, two systems” in 1997.

What is apparent from TV interviews is that a significant number of Hong Kong Chinese do not relish the prospect of living in a one party communist state with all the restrictions on liberty that brings.

Since so many South Africans apparently yearn for such a state could we perhaps swap a million and half of ours for a million and half of theirs?

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