It’s no joke - the Cape Party, which stands for independence from the rest of South Africa - is determined to keep fighting elections until the region can call itself the Cape Republic.
Undeterred by its lacklustre performance during the 2009 provincial elections, when it stood for the first time and managed 2 552 votes, the party will in May field candidates in all metro wards.
It will also have its name on ballots in the Cape Winelands, Overberg, Eden and the West Coast district municipalities.
“We are dead serious,” party spokesman Adrian Kay said. “People in the Western Cape have already spoken. They don’t want to be ruled by an ANC government.”
Kay said the 0.01 percent voter support it received in 1999 should not be seen as a measure of its support.
“That was basically just a publicity drive. We were formed a few months before the election, and never seriously thought we would win seats.”
But this time, the party hopes to win “a significant portion” of the votes. If it doesn’t, it will continue to make the case for secession, for as long as it takes.
Kay said the idea was to get a mandate from voters, after which the party would declare independence and proceed to negotiate secession with the national government.
He said people were “very interested” in the party’s proposition and even though it may be “difficult for the people in the media to believe”, support was growing.
He said their strongest backing was in the 18-to-35 age group. ‘‘People are sick and tired, and young people are willing to do something about it. That demographic will be the leaders of society in a few years’ time,” said Kay.
He also dismissed any charges of the Cape Party being racist, saying that while the party had support among all groups, “we don’t keep racial profiles at all”.
But UCT constitutional law professor Pierre de Vos is sceptical about the party’s platform.
“Even if they win, unless there is a revolution they can’t (secede),” he said.
De Vos explained that, because South Africa was a unitary state, the national Parliament would have to agree to amend “the very structure of our State. They still have to operate within a constitutional framework which creates a unitary state, and they are not allowed to do anything that threatens the unity of the country.
If they did, it would be treason”. - Cape Argus