Northern Cape 'sale' gains momentum

01 March 2019 | Art and Entertainment

What started out as joke – and still is – has taken on a more serious tone, with about 2 000 people signing a petition that calls for the Northern Cape to be sold to Namibia so that South Africa can pay off Eskom's debt.

The creator of the petition says he calculated the asking price of N$420 billion using business principles, based on South Africa's GDP and the Northern Cape's revenue potential.

While the stunt has drawn criticism, it has also attracted thousands of signatures, with many South Africans eager to leave behind their country's woes in exchange for what they see as the greener pastures offered by Namibia. Capetonian Aidan van Niekerk initiated the petition on change.org about two weeks ago and expected to get only 100 signatures. But it has gone viral on social media and South African media have also had a field day with the quirky petition. The petition to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says Eskom has too much debt and South African taxpayers are tired of paying it - and nobody lives in the Northern Cape in any case.

“I don't know, tell the Namibians it has a desert and a big hole or something,” it states.

Van Niekerk on Tuesday updated the petition and thanked all South African and Namibian signatories for their support.

“I am overwhelmed by the unity displayed by all demographics who have come together for this righteous cause. My heart is so full,” he said. As for those who oppose the petition, he said: “We will be selling them together with the Northern Cape.” According to him South Africa could use the proceeds from the sale to build a border wall between South Africa and the Northern Cape, which would then be called “Southern Namibia”. “All opposition will be placed on the other side of the wall. Any racists will be sent that way.”

Van Niekerk told Namibian Sun that he came up with the idea during South African finance minister Tito Mboweni's recent budget speech, when he announced the unbundling of Eskom. “I thought surely there must be a better solution. I am a mathematics student and I work in finance. I managed to calculate that based on the GDP and the Northern Cape's revenue potential, it is worth roughly N$420 billion.”

Van Niekerk said the incorporation of the Northern Cape into Namibia would hopefully contribute to social diversity in Namibia and bring relief to the marginalised southern parts of the country.

“At the very least people can direct their anger at the man behind the petition rather than at each other. The foreign investment generated from the mining industry in the Northern Cape might provide the capital needed to develop alternative water sources.”

He said the unique selling point of the Northern Cape has got to be its mines. “Even the Queen of England and Lady Gaga wear jewels from there. Should Namibia own these mines, Americans may finally refer to the country by its correct name and not as 'Nambia'.”

Van Niekerk's petition had garnered 1962 signatures by yesterday.

One of the signatories, Jan Steenkamp, said: “Namibia's government would do a far better job supporting the Northern Cape. Need the desert for solar, can sell back to Eskom.”

Adri Nell said that geographically speaking, this province would “complete” Namibia.

“Time to move to Northern Cape,” wrote Mitzi Knipe.

Lorraine Lee said this could be the answer to South Africa's financial crisis. “Northern Cape is barren land and no one stays there anyway,” said Jurie Cronje, while Lezanne Shone said it was better to live in Namibia than in South Africa. South Africa has been crippled by rolling blackouts, while Eskom's debt of N$419 billion is a significant threat to the country's fiscal strength.

ELLANIE SMIT

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