The Referendum Party (RP) notes with interest the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the powers of provincial premiers to call referendums.
Civic organisation Kaapse Forum had requested clarity on the legal status quo. Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has been using this ConCourt application to stall a decision on calling a referendum on Cape Independence which, according to polling, 68% of Western Cape voters support.
The ConCourt has declined to hear the application, at least for now, but in doing so, two significant developments have occurred.
Firstly, the Concourt has tacitly placed an obligation on parliament to rectify the referendum legislation ‘within a reasonable period of time’ and ‘enacted in a form consistent with the constitution’.
Secondly, Kaapse Forum has publicly confirmed that it obtained a formal legal opinion, which it provided to Premier Alan Winde, saying he already has the legal authority to call a referendum. This echoes the legal advice the RP has received, and also which well-known jurist Martin van Staden articulated late last year in an article in the Daily Friend.
RP Leader Phil Craig says, “The RP welcomes the additional pressure on Parliament to rectify the referendum legislation in a reasonable period of time. It is now also clear that Premier Winde can no longer rely on the Kaapse Forum application to determine whether he can call referendums. This is a decision he needs to make himself. The increasing weight of legal opinion says he can.”
It is now clear that it is not the law which is preventing Premier Winde from calling a referendum on Cape Independence, it is politics.
Craig says, “Premier Winde has made it very clear for Cape Independence supporters, if you want a referendum then you are going to have to vote for it, The Referendum Party was formed to allow you to do just that.”