A referendum Party! Vote against the DA! How did we get here?

PRESS ARTICLE: DA have done a good job in the Western Cape. Why would the CIAG be saying vote against them?

A referendum Party! Vote against the DA! How did we get here?

Under a DA government, the Western Cape has become the top performing and best run province in South Africa. As we have watched South Africa’s inexorable decline towards failed statehood, many of us are extremely grateful that the DA have been able to minimise the impact on our province.

This has taken two essential elements, a DA-led Western Cape Government which may not be perfect but has at least strived to provide clean and professional governance, and a Western Cape electorate which has been willing to appoint a government based upon merit.

Despite their best efforts, the DA have been unable to replicate their success in the Western Cape in other parts of South Africa. The harsh reality is that the rest of South Africa is not willing to appoint a government on merit, it sees the DA as a ‘white party’, and it has no intention whatsoever of allowing the DA to govern it.

Political realities drive Cape Independence

Cape Independence is a very simple proposal, and an inherently honest one. It doesn’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, it isn’t based upon blind optimism, it simply looks at the world as it actually is and plans accordingly.

The Western Cape wants to be governed efficiently and it believes that the DA are the party best placed to achieve that. Inversely, it intensely dislikes the ANC and the majority of Western Cape voters have never once voted for it. Despite this, it has been stuck with an ANC government for the entirety of the post-94 democratic era.

Outside of the Western Cape, in 2019, 73.1% of voters voted for either the ANC or the EFF. Only 17.2% voted DA. For all the talk of the ANC’s imminent demise, and knowing everything they already know, South African voters outside of the Western Cape remain four times more likely to vote ANC or EFF than DA.

The elephant in the room is of course race. Whilst we all aspire to non-racialism, we largely vote along racial lines. The Western Cape has a fundamentally different demographic composition to the rest of South Africa. Where the DA does well in the rest of South Africa, it is almost exclusively where the demographics favour them.

These are just the facts, and they can’t be wished away because they are uncomfortable.

Cape Independence is the honest acceptance of this reality. Let South Africa be governed according to the wishes of South African voters, and let the Western Cape be governed according to the wishes of Western Cape voters.

DA would benefit from Cape Independence

Cape Independence is now an integral part of the Western Cape political zeitgeist. Polling shows that more than two-thirds of Western Cape voters support a referendum being held to establish the democratic will of the Western Cape people. The DA had previously promised such a referendum.

To some extent it is understandable why Cape Independence is a political hot potato to the national DA, but to the Western Cape DA and the Western Cape government which it leads, it should be a ‘no brainer’. The DA would almost certainly form the inaugural government in an independent Western Cape, and almost all of the problems which they are currently fighting to overcome would be addressed through independence.

The DA would control economic policy and could deliver real economic growth. It would control policing and could introduce functional law and order. It would control taxation and could ensure that revenue was spent on service delivery and not corruption. It would control transport and could upgrade the rail system and ports. It would control the border and could promote legal migration and put an end to illegal land invasions.

Yet the Western Cape Premier, whose primary purpose is to act in the best interests of the Western Cape people has become the most outspoken opponent of their salvation.

Personally opposing the idea is one thing, we are all entitled to our opinions, but actively denying the people you serve the opportunity to express their opinions is something else entirely.

On 10 October, Premier Winde formally confirmed that he was not going to call the referendum on Cape Independence that his party had promised before the 2021 elections. Winde said he had been quite clear on Cape Independence; he doesn’t support it.

On 19 October, the Cape Independence Advocacy Group (CIAG) called a press conference to announce its response. It has suspected for some time that the DA was going to renege on its 2021 promises and had contingency plans for exactly this eventuality in place. A single-issue ‘Referendum Party’ would be launched shortly which would allow voters to vote for a DA-led Western Cape government and a referendum on Cape Independence. The party would keep the DA in power but force them to listen to their own voters.

Rationale behind the ‘Referendum Party’

It also published a ‘Position Paper’ which methodically set out the actions the CIAG had taken in the three and a half years since its establishment and how it had arrived at this point. It would not be an easy read for the DA exposing them as an organisation fundamentally lacking in courage when it came to real change, and who’s default setting is to stall rather than to face up to tough decisions.

The executive summary is this. In 2019, when the DA promised to fight for a professional devolved provincial police service and a safe and efficient rail service which ran on time, it had absolutely no idea how it was going to deliver them. Unsurprisingly then, as its current term of government comes to an end, it hasn’t. Without the ANC’s consent, there will be no devolution of powers.

The DA officially adopted federalism as a policy, and habitually offered it up as an alternative solution to Cape Independence. Once again it had no idea how to deliver it, but the CIAG did. The CIAG drafted the Western Cape Peoples Bill. The DA stalled for months until the VF Plus took up the mantle and pressed the issue by tabling the Bill. In response the DA wrote its own watered-down version of the Bill (Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill) hoping to evade a stand-off on federalism. It failed.

The DA made a deal with the CIAG on the referendum legislation and a referendum itself, but then broke them both. It gazetted the bill as promised, but after the election secretly cancelled the legislation until it was found out. It eventually tabled the legislation two years late. On the referendum itself, it tried to hide behind its own stalled legislation, and only came clean that it was going to break its promise when it received a letter signed by 30 000 Western Cape voters demanding a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer within seven days.

When the CIAG took to social media to reveal the DA’s broken promises, the DA tried to censor them by alleging a trademark infringement giving the CIAG less than 24 hours to remove their posts. The CIAG refused claiming freedom of expression and challenged the DA to either refute or verify the accuracy of its claims. The DA did neither.  

DA lacking in courage

So, in the end here we are. The DA cannot deliver devolution of powers and it will not deliver federalism even though it could. It cannot win power nationally, and without Cape Independence it cannot deliver the best available outcome for the Western Cape people. It can govern the province well and it can keep the ANC wolf from the door for a while longer (but certainly not forever).

The mightiest men in the Israelite army could not find the courage to confront Goliath. It took a lowly shepherd boy with five stones and a sling.

If the DA cannot find the courage to ask the Western Cape people whether they want to be rid of the ANC (and the voters who keep electing it) once and for all, and to claim the right to take direct control of their own destiny, then Western Cape voters are going to have to find the courage for themselves.

The ‘Referendum Party’ is officially recruiting.

They are not intending to remove the DA, in fact they are promising not to, but they are utterly determined to make the DA ‘man up’ on Cape Independence. Goliath is not going away on his own.

The Referendum Party will be launched at 10h30 on 9 November 2023. You can attend the launch virtually using this link: https://youtube.com/live/l7SCp-3C3OE

About CIAG: We are a non-profit organisation committed to democratically, lawfully and peacefully obtaining independence for the collective peoples of the Western Cape. Support our work: please spread the word, register for our newsletter and donate.