CAPE TOWN - The Cape Party on Tuesday launched its election manifesto for the coming local government polls.

The party was formed in 2007 and describes itself as a "regional party". It has often been ridiculed by analysts for calling for the independence of the Western and Northern Cape, which would form a separate 'Cape Republic'.

The party is registered with the Independent Electoral Commission and was on the provincial ballot of the Western Cape in the 2009 general elections, in which it received 2552 votes, or 0,13% of the total.

Launching the manifesto, party founder and president Jack Miller said the coming elections were important in that "they would provide us with an opportunity to take great steps towards our end goal of establishing the Cape Republic".

He described the proposed Cape Republic as roughly the size of France, with a gross domestic product of R293bn. It also performed better than any province in SA, Mr Miller said.

"It is worth mentioning that for every R100 the Cape sends to the Treasury, only R58 returns. An independent Cape is a much more viable economic entity than SA."

Party spokesman Adrian Kay said it would use constitutional and legal means to bring about the independence of the Western Cape.

The Cape Party would seek a consensus with other dominant parties within the province, such as the Democratic Alliance (DA), he said.

"I think it is clear that the majority of people in the Western Cape do not want to live under the African National Congress (ANC) . we have a constitutional right to self- determination and this is only a natural and normal human phenomenon. Look at what happened in South Sudan," Mr Kay said.

DA federal council chairman James Selfe said his party would never go into discussions for a break- up of the province. "We as a party are committed to the constitution and, quite frankly, with all due respect, the Cape Party is not a party we take seriously," he said.

Idasa political analyst Justin Sylvester said the Cape Party's push for independence was not out of the ordinary.

"Take the case of Orania. Pragmatically, the majority of the people in the Cape will not want to cede. Cessation is a marginal view and such a debate will not make the DA or the ANC lose sleep," he said.

phakathib@bdfm.co.za