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Why is the Referendum Party targeting 100k votes and how will it use them to obtain a referendum?

Why 100k votes?

The DA has held an outright majority in the Western Cape Parliament for almost 15 years. This means that they are able to make all of the decisions which the South African Constitution assigns to the Western Cape Government without the support of any other political party. This includes the decision by the Western Cape Premier on whether or not to call a referendum on Cape Independence.

If the DA lose their outright majority, then they will require the support of other political parties to make the decisions of government. If those political parties support Cape Independence and want a referendum, then they hold significant political leverage over the DA which can be used to pressurise them into calling a referendum. 

Based on the information currently available (previous election results, trends analysis, polling, by-election results), if the Referendum Party can take 100k votes away from the DA then it is extremely likely that a Cape Independence coalition government will be formed. 

Maths of a Cape Independence Coalition Government?

The Western Cape Parliament is due to be expanded before the 2024 election (the expansion is expected to be signed into law by the Premier in February 2024). The new parliament will have 72 seats. 

If the same number of votes are cast in 2024 as were cast in the last provincial election in 2019, then approximately 28 600 votes will be required to win each seat. 

The DA will require 37 seats for an outright majority. If the number of votes cast remains the same as in 2019, they will require approximately 1.06m votes.

Support for the DA has been trending downwards since 2016, not only in percentage terms, but even more critically, in the volume of votes.

In 2021, the DA got 54.2% of the Western Cape vote. If they were able to repeat this performance in 2024, then the DA would win 39 seats, giving them an outright majority of 3 seats.

If the Referendum Party is able to take 100k votes away from the DA, then the Referendum Party will have 3 seats, and the DA will have 36. They will lose their overall majority.

This is, however, only part of the picture. The DA is also under intense pressure from ethnic minority voters in the Western Cape who believe that the DA’s focus on national politics is not in their best interest. There has been a significant shift in voting behaviour with a sizeable number of coloured voters moving towards so-called ‘coloured’ parties (PA, CCC) and white voters moving towards the Freedom Front Plus.

In 2021, the DA obtained 400k (33%) less votes in the Western Cape than they did in 2016. This was masked in the election results because the ANC did even worse, losing 200k (39%) of their votes.

The Patriotic Alliance (PA), Freedom Front Plus, and Cape Coloured Congress (now NCC) are all expected to erode the DA’s vote in 2024. The Freedom Front is expected to retain its seat, whilst the PA and the NCC are expected to achieve at least 3 seats between them.  

This would reduce the DA to 33 seats (perhaps 34 if some of the PA/NCC gains come at the expense of Good rather than the DA).

The Referendum Party (provided they can obtain the 100k votes) and Freedom Front Plus would have 4 seats between them.

Given that they are the parties most closely aligned with the DA ideologically, and that 79% of the DA’s own voters support a referendum Cape Independence, they would make the most obvious choice as coalition partners.

Does this guarantee a referendum?

No, the future is never certain and no-one can guarantee it. This is especially true in elections and politics. All we can do is to make sure the cards are stacked as strongly as possible in our favour.

Cape Independence can only be achieved when a democratic majority of the Western Cape people say that they want it. A referendum is the internationally accepted means of demonstrating this.

The only way to guarantee a referendum, which the Western Cape Premier has the right to call, is for Cape Independence parties to obtain an outright majority in the Western Cape Parliament, and to then call it ourselves.

No Cape Independence party is currently strong enough to achieve this, so the only alternative is to pressure the Western Cape Premier into calling a referendum.

This is exactly how a referendum on Brexit was delivered, even though the British Prime Minister was opposed to Brexit. The Referendum Party has consulted extensively with the team that delivered that referendum. 

100k votes for the Referendum Party will put us in a very strong position, especially alongside the Freedom Front Plus, to apply sufficient political pressure to force the premier to call a referendum.

What does ‘political pressure’ mean in reality?

Premier Alan Winde has publicly stated that he will resign if the DA is brought below 50%.

The DA will have to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement with Cape Independence parties if it is brought below 50%. We will be demanding a referendum.

Once the coalition government has been formed, the DA will need the support of its coalition on every single vote. This will allow the Referendum Party to implement a powerful ‘confidence and supply’ strategy.

The end result is this: if the Cape Independence movement successfully brings the DA below 50% in the Western Cape where 68% of voters favour a referendum, a Cape Independence referendum will become virtually inevitable.

We may be able to deliver it instantly during the coalition negotiations, we may have to be more patient whilst we ramp up the political pressure within government, but with 100k votes we are extremely confident that we will deliver it.

Is 100k all or nothing?

No. 100k is the number of votes we have calculated should be sufficient to deliver a Cape Independence coalition government.

If we can achieve more (which realistically is unlikely - 100k would be a significant achievement), then we would be in an even stronger position.

If we deliver less, we will be in a weaker position, but we will still be able to deliver significant political pressure.

We are a single-issue party. Our representatives in parliament will be instructed to focus exclusively on Cape Independence. We will table motions calling for a referendum, a constitutional change calling for the people to be able to instigate referendums, and will introduce Cape Independence into the parliamentary debate at every possible opportunity.

What is the alternative?

There isn’t one. If we want Cape Independence, we are going to have to vote for it. If we don’t vote for it, then we won’t get it.

The DA have effectively called Cape Independence supporters’ bluff. They have reneged on their 2021 promise of a referendum, and they have dismissed non-political groups like CapeXit as inconsequential.

Premier Alan Winde has been defiant saying, if you want Cape Independence then vote for it.

What happens next is up to Cape Independence supporters.