Demographics and Referendum for Cape Independence
What follows below is not meant to be disruptive but rather reflects real concerns that need thought and discussion.
According to the 2011 census, blacks constituted 35,7% of the population of the Western Cape. Since then, there has not been any official survey done to update this figure. However, studies by various bodies have estimated that blacks now constitute 40% of the population of the Western Cape. It cannot be very many years before they constitute 50% of the population.
When the 50% level is reached it becomes highly unlikely that a referendum on the question of Cape independence is going to produce a majority in favour of Cape independence. This means that ideally a referendum should be held as soon as possible. However, before a referendum can be held a huge amount of ground work still has to be done to promote the idea of Cape independence and it has to be done soon and thoroughly. The calculations below demonstrate how urgent is this.
In column A are listed hypothetic percentages of blacks that may vote in favour of Cape independence
Column B gives the corresponding percentages of the population of the Western Cape
Column C gives the corresponding percentages of the non-black population that would have to vote in favour of Cape independence in order for a referendum to produce a majority in favour of Cape independence.
Columns D to G give percentage of coloured and Indian voters needed to vote yes, if the percentage of whites voting yes is as indicated in the column heading.
For example: In the table above if 10% of blacks vote yes and 70% of whites vote yes then in order to obtain a majority yes vote 81.4% of coloureds and indians will have to vote yes.
The white population in the 2011 census was 16%. For simplicity this percentage is assumed to be constant. In all probability the percentage has dropped in which case the percentages needed from coloured and Indian voters goes up.
The actual outcome would also be affected by levels of voter registration and percentage polls. There would also be problems of violence, especially in the black areas. Despite these issues the table above provides lots of food for thought. Clearly the following need attention
- A huge campaign needs to be launched to promote Cape independence
- More imaginative promotional activity is required
- Different groups need to work together without losing their separate identities
- A Plan-B needs to be developed.
If there are any questions about the above please do not hesitate to contact me.
Patrick Melly Political analyst and economist.