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The Cape Party (CAPE) is a political party in South Africa which seeks to use all constitutional and legal means to bring about independence for the Western Cape, Northern Cape (excluding two districts), six municipalities in the Eastern Cape, and one municipality in the Free State. The area includes all municipalities in those provinces with an Afrikaans-speaking majority. In 2009, it had a membership of approximately 1,000 people across South Africa which has grown to over 10,000 by 2017.
In a recent publication of the Bolander newspaper, the legal executive of the Cape Party Advocate Carlo Viljoen claimed that the Cape party has supporters from all sectors of the Kaaplander society and that the Cape party has grown by more than 10,000 in 2018 alone.
It is registered with the Independent Electoral Commission and was on the provincial ballot of the Western Cape in the South African general elections of 2009, where it received 2,552 votes. It stood again for the municipal elections in 2016, where it received 4,473 votes. In the 2019 National and Provincial Election the Cape Party received 9331 votes.
The party grew out of a Facebook group in 2007, and is led by Jack Miller, a Cape Town businessman. On 17 March 2009, the young party's website was defaced by vandals. The website was replaced with an image of a "black devil" and the words "fuck off". Jack Miller, the party leader, alleged that the attack would have required a great deal of funding and equipment, and claimed that it had been perpetrated by one of South Africa's two largest political parties, the African National Congress or the Democratic Alliance. The attack was investigated by the IEC, which has come to no conclusions.
In 2009, the Cape Party petitioned the Independent Electoral Commission to reject the registration of another political party, the recently formed Congress of the People, on the grounds that the abbreviation of their name (Cope) could cause confusion between the two parties amongst voters, which is against the IEC's regulations. The IEC rejected the objection.
In 2010, the Cape Party announced its support for the Thembu clan, whose chief has said that the clan is seeking autonomy for the clan's territory east of the Fish River.
During 2017, the Cape Party instituted an application to have a poster, which was covered with the words "Fuck White People" in black-and-white all caps letters, on display since 2016 alongside a chair and "goldendeanboots" as part of an exhibition called The Art of Disruptions at the Cape Town gallery, declared hate speech.
The work was created by Dean Hutton, who wore a suit with the same print publicly before Iziko approached them. Some members approached the art gallery and placed a sticker over the poster that read "love thy neighbour". For this, the gallery charged them criminally for damage to property.[better source needed] In the incident, the party members who defaced the poster were documented accosting and physically manhandling Iziko staff members in their attempts to stop the party's actions.
The application was heard in the Equality Court of South Africa in Cape Town in terms of the Regulations Relating to the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act. However, the Court declared that the words "Fuck white people" were not hate speech.
On 13 June 2018, the Cape Party lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to have the parliamentary resolution on land expropriation declared a crime against humanity.
The Cape Party stated that South Africa is signatory to numerous international treaties which safeguard property rights, Standing in front of the SAHRC offices in Cape Town, leader of the Cape Party, Jack Miller said: "There is another word for state expropriation without compensation; it is quite simply theft in the most criminal sense." The Cape Party stated that the resolution is in contravention of international law and cited such examples as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 17 (2): "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her property." And that it is taking the issue to the International Court of Justice.
The Cape Party stated that one permanent solution to this communist South African government action is the Secession of the Western Cape to form the Cape of Good Hope.
The party maintains that the population of the Western Cape and parts of surrounding provinces (which it calls the Cape Nation), is culturally and linguistically distinct from the rest of South Africa, and is therefore entitled to statehood under chapter 14, section 235 of the South African Constitution. The party says the Republic of South Africa is a colonial construct, and that the Cape would be better off if it separated from South Africa. It claims that the national government and legislative apparatus are racist and totalitarian, and has referred to President Jacob Zuma as an illegitimate occupier of the Cape. They have cited black economic empowerment, affirmative action and housing allocation policies as examples of the national government's racist policies.
The party cites the Division of Revenue Act in which 78% of revenue raised in the province never returns and that taxpayers pay R3.5 Billion per week to the South African treasury. The province, the second wealthiest in South Africa, would be more economically successful if these revenues were spent within its borders.
The Cape Party has said that it occupies a unique position, as it focuses on local issues, instead of attempting to contest power in national elections, which would legitimise the national political machinery.
The party maintains that representative democracy has failed and proposes a system of direct democracy where the electorate are consulted in referenda before passing laws. It also supports the ability of individual communities and cultural groups to determine the laws that govern them. It supports free ports, and has suggested turning its prospective republic into a tax haven.
The party cites various legal provisions and frameworks to support its position that the "Cape Nation" has a right to self-government. These include:
The constitutional law scholar Pierre de Vos, however, has said that the Cape Party could not secede without a revolution. As the constitution has created a unitary state, he has said that threatening the unity of the country would be treason. The Cape Party refuted this claim by citing a statement by the National Prosecuting Authority statement on an ordinance of secession submitted by the Abathembu in 2010. The statement by the NPA said that secession was "not a crime" and went on to say that secession was "a political matter."
The Cape Party has said that it will seek to build consensus with the dominant political parties in the Western Cape, such as the Democratic Alliance. In response, Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe said that the Cape Party was "not a party we take seriously".
The idea of an independent Western Cape has gained considerable publicity since the 2009 general elections, in which the results put the province at odds with the rest of South Africa. The opposition Democratic Alliance won 51% of the vote in the province. Following its defeat at the polls in 2009, the Western Cape ANC publicity acknowledged that "were it to be put to a referendum right now, the majority of citizens would support a Unilateral Declaration of Independence – The Republic of the Western Cape"
Many pundits have however scoffed at the idea of an Independent Republic in the Western Cape but as the decline of South Africa's economy has become apparent the idea has gained more favourable coverage. In 2016 the author RW Johnson speculated that calls for the province's independence were growing and that de facto independence will come when citizens pay taxes into a private account and not to the ANC government in Pretoria.
In 2017, Alec Hogg, founder and publisher of Biznews.com and also the Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief for Moneyweb; questioned whether the Cape Party was onto something and whether it could become SA’s UK Independence Party.
A recent poll conducted by Pretoria-based VirtuCall reveals that most DA supporters want an independence referendum, (52%) of the persons questioned, identified themselves as DA supporters. Among them, close to 66% favoured an independence referendum to let the people decide their national destiny. This figure increased to 72.33% when factoring in DA supporters who own homes or businesses
The three main policies that the Cape party envisage for the Cape of Good Hope, which will have bearing on all other policies are their Canton political system, direct democracy electoral system and Singaporean economic system.
The Cape Party has so far contested elections in 2009, 2011 and 2016. The party fielded candidates in all wards of the City of Cape Town in the municipal elections of 2011, and also contested wards of the Cape Winelands, Overberg, Eden and West Coast municipalities. The party launched its manifesto for the election on 15 April 2011. Miller described the election as "an opportunity to take great steps toward our end goal of establishing the Cape Republic".
In addressing the results of the 2009 elections, a party spokesperson described the Cape Party's campaign in those elections as a publicity drive, noting that it didn't expect to win any seats. He said, however, that the party hoped to win a "significant portion" of votes in 2011, adding that the party's support was growing and was strongest in people between the ages of 18 and 35. He acknowledged, however, that this was difficult for the media to believe. The party finally garnered 1,670 votes (0.1% of the Western Cape vote) on the proportional representation ballot in the 2011 election.
In 2011, the Cape Party was the first political party to put up election posters in the City of Cape Town. However, the party claimed that 2500 of these went missing in three weeks. A party spokesman blamed the Democratic Alliance for the missing posters, calling them "masters of the dark arts", and alleging that the Cape Party posters had been replaced with posters for the DA.
During November 2017, the party took part in by-elections for the Brackenfell Ward, wherein it received 18.72% of the vote; taking second place, after the Democratic Alliance.
During December 2018, the party again took part in by-elections for the Saldanha Ward, wherein it again took second place, after the Democratic Alliance, ahead of the ANC.
During February 2019, the party again took second place, after the Democratic Alliance, ahead of the ANC, in the Sea Point by-elections.
The Cape Party has been stepping up their campaign efforts in 2021 in anticipation of the Local Elections due at the end of the year. They have also released a Cape Republic Novelty Passport.