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Politics in the Western Cape is broken. Voter apathy is at record levels, with 600,000 Kaapenaars having voted in 2019, but not in 2021. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as Western Cape votes simply do not matter - we have always rejected the ANC, yet we always get the ANC. Western Cape voters feel powerless in the face of the continued decay and decline in South Africa and that’s why I am joining the Referendum Party - to take control of our democracy, so we can begin to write our own history.

My home town of Riebeek Kasteel may come across as quite idyllic, beautiful homes intermixed with boutique shops and restaurants, but behind the facade are many severe social problems that have persisted for decades. Youth unemployment is high, drugs and alcohol are rampanant, the consequences of past injustices are still not being properly addressed: the story of my town is replicated across the communities of the Cape. They are suffering.

We can argue endlessly who is to blame for these problems: British colonialism, Apartheid racial nationalism, ANC corruption and incompetence. However, the constant problem throughout all these dispensations is our highly centralised South African state. South Africa is more like an empire consisting of different countries, than a nation in its own right. By centralising power in Pretoria, we will always be in a power struggle for who governs this land - whether it be minorities subjagating majorities or majorities punishing minorities.

Remedies have been proposed to change this arrangement - yet one by one they have been rejected. When the negotiations to end Apartheid took place, proposals for a decentralised South Africa were rejected. Since then, desperate pleas from the Western Cape government for increased devolution to the province have been rejected by the ANC. Now, it looks likely that the DA may very well reject the prospect of federalism by voting against the VF Plus’ Western Cape Peoples Bill.

The emerging choice is now very simple. Do we continue as part of this empire, likely dooming ourselves to become yet another failed African state? Or do we go for full, sovereign independence - taking control of our destiny and allowing the Cape to become the first-world country it has the potential to be. The elections in just a few months time are not going to be “just another election”. This is our moment to save ourselves. It is now or never.

It may sound bizarre for me to say this, but I believe that the Referendum Party should not need to exist. Had the DA honoured their promise to call a referendum on Cape independence, there would be no Referendum Party. Yet, because our leaders have betrayed us by breaking that promise, we need more than ever before a vehicle that can hold them to account.

Many people may look at the Referendum Party and say to themselves “not another one, don’t we have enough parties already.” However, unlike parties which ask you to vote for them, so that they can have the power to implement their policies - the Referendum Party pitch is very different and very simple. If you lend us your vote, we will use our political weight in a coalition to get you a referendum on Cape independence, so you can take back power for yourselves.

A snarky, uninformed remark made by opponents of Cape independence is that it is merely nostalgia for Apartheid. I disagree - I believe it is nostalgia for the late 90s. A time where there was a belief in a rainbow nation, where people felt free, where people had confidence in the future. For South Africa, that feeling is now lost and will not come back, but for the Cape there is hope. People may be scared of hope, but the alternative is endless despair. Our politics is broken, yet with the tools the Referendum Party is offering, we can fix it.