But what will this Cape Republic look like? Obviously, we can’t really know. Too many things can happen to change what the future looks like, which makes prophesising a tad bothersome. But what we can do is discuss what we’d like the Cape Republic to look like.
But rather than be utopian and declare that the Cape Republic should solve or want and disease, I will be a little more pragmatic and general.
The following are five policies that the Cape Republic should adopt once it achieves independence, if it hopes to become prosperous and overtake the bloated, socialist state from which it spawned.
1) Embrace Free Markets
All successful economies have one thing in common: They embraced the free market. Sure, planned economies like the USSR and Nazi Germany looked good on paper for a few years, but this was all a ruse. All genuinely successful countries have a large degree of economic freedom.
South Africa suffers from bloated government and overly powerful labour unions, overregulation and a corrupt public administration that loves toying with socialist policies. A Cape Republic must abandon these.
Labour regulations must be relaxed to solve unemployment, businesses must be allowed to open up and function with little fuss, and all unnecessary barriers to enterprise must be abolished.
Like Hong Kong or Singapore, Cape Town could soon become a flourishing, free trade city, in a free trade country.
2) Embrace Free Trade and Free Travel
The Cape’s biggest industry is tourism, even as the South African government strangles the industry with visa regulations and now with the lockdown. To support our premier industry, we must make it easy for tourists and others who wish to add to our society to travel to our beautiful new republic and enjoy our local industries.
In addition, we must embrace free trade, and recognise that protectionist policies seldom if ever work. Let’s focus on the industries we know we can compete well in – such as wine production, environmental tourism, and perhaps even financial services. There is no point trying to protect local industry and coddle them into permanent infancy. The Cape must embrace free trade from the get-go.
3) Maintain a Limited, Rationally Sized Government
The Cape performs better than the rest of South Africa not because it’s run by the Democratic Alliance, but because it has an institutional history of good governance. We must maintain this, while also ensuring that the government remains limited and effective. We must not repeat the mistakes of South Africa. Public sector employment should be an exception, not the rule, as we balance our budget and keep taxes low.
4) Defend Our Nation Rationally and Realistically
The most important things to keep in mind when it comes to national security are capability and need. What is your country capable of doing to defend itself? And what does it need to defend itself from?
As a small republic, the Cape does not have the capacity to maintain a huge military and neither should it. Our only real threat would be reprisals from neighbouring South Africa, which would hopefully be sorted out in the talks that lead to secession.
As such, the Cape should maintain a small defence force, perhaps relying on a well-trained citizen militia. The Cape should also definitely embrace the proliferation of private firearms and firearms rights that would make the United States Second Amendment look oppressive. An armed society could very well defend itself better than an underfunded military ever could.
In addition, there should be no shame in reaching out to foreign allies to defend us. The United States may be interested in putting a base in the Cape and I don’t see any problem with that. It’s free defence, and they pay rent.
As the defence budget is rationalised, money should be freed up for more pertinent defence matters. The Navy should be downgraded, and focus put on the Coast Guard, as the only naval projects we should be focusing on are defending our privately-owned fishing stocks from poachers and rescuing those lost at sea.
In terms of law enforcement, the police will need to be reformed and rationalised. Locally accountable police will already go a long way to solving our issues, and if it embraces an intel-based approach to preventative policing, then it will be even more effective. Victimless crimes – the drug trade and sex work being prominent Cape examples – should be abolished so that the police can focus on violent crime.
5) Be Open to Good Foreign Relations
The Cape Republic must not follow in the footsteps of South African foreign policy. We must reject cosying up to dictatorships and war criminals and instead seek good relations with decent trade partners and ideological allies. Rather than seeking friendship with the Russians or Communist China, the Cape should maintain a pro-West foreign policy, while maintaining free trade between all countries.
Other African countries can also be decent allies and partners if they agree to play ball and embrace pro-market and rational governance reforms.
A Brighter Future in a Cape Republic
Cape Independence is a great opportunity for a brighter future. The Cape has all the endowments it needs to become a jewel of prosperity on the continent, and an example to poorer countries for how to succeed. All it needs to do is embrace the right policies. Freedom and reason above all else.
As Cape Independence approaches, debates will arise for what the new republic should look like, so keep in mind these policy suggestions. Tell us yours!
What do you think a Cape Republic should look like?