From DA loyalty to Cape Independence advocacy -Donald Brown

In the lap of privilege in Stellenbosch, South Africa, I embraced the DA’s liberalism until an unsettling revelation. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, my pursuit of open dialogue clashed with the DA’s resistance to discussing Cape Independence. Disillusioned, I discovered a disconnect between the party and its Western Cape supporters. Fueled by a desire for change, I joined a new party dedicated to a Cape Independence referendum, recognizing the urgent need for a first-world future. In 2024, passive observance is not an option; we must all play our part.

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By Donald Brown*

“How did you go bankrupt?”

Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” -― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

My upbringing left me with little to complain about.

I experienced first-class schooling, excellent service delivery under DA control, a fantastic community, and the convenience of having premium wine right at your doorstep —all within one of the most beautiful and affluent areas in South Africa; Stellenbosch.

Yet all this beauty and advantages was not enough for me to ignore the rapid decline of the state of South Africa. This naturally drew me towwards the main opposition party, which shared many of my values: Liberalism.

Despite my initial hesitation and being taken aback by Mmusi Maimane’s campaign rhetoric, I set those concerns aside. My anticipation swelled as I prepared to cast my first vote for the DA, driven by a deep-seated loyalty to both the party and the fiery leadership of its former “Iron Lady” leader, Helen Zille.

I didn’t notice it at the time, but this reluctance would mark the beginning of the end.

At the onset of the Covid pandemic, I created WorldView with the mission of fostering intelligent debate in an engaging manner. Since its inception, I have steadfastly maintained a neutral stance, purposefully refraining from involvement in politics, to create a space where everyone can feel welcome to speak.

One of the primary reasons for establishing WorldView was to address issues in a public and inclusive manner, seeking solutions. Over time, I had observed individuals confined to echo chambers, making no progress. It was in this pursuit that I found myself conflicting with the party supposed to champion the battle of ideas.

And consistently, it revolved around one issue:.

Cape Independence.

Seeing a growing crisis in South Africa, I believed that initiating discussions and raising questions about the issue of Cape Independence would be well-received by DA leaders, particularly considering the enthusiasm of many DA voters for this topic. (As per the latest poll conducted by Victory Research, 68% of the people in the Western Cape support a referendumit.)

However, it wasn’t. Instead, it turned out to be a highly unpleasant affair.

On more than one occasion, DA leaders committed themselves to debates only to pull out at the last moment, even when ANC members showed up dutifully on time. On other occasions, I faced heckling from DA members for raising the question at public Q&A sessions, leading me to respond in a manner I am not proud of. In general, they behaved in a cold, dismissive, and patronizing manner, leaving me quietly fuming and frustrated, yet feeling unable to take any action.

The impression I received of the DA is that of a veteran fortress guard who has engaged in daily battles against invaders, and is now left aloof, suspicious, and inherently unwelcoming. The party seems to have walled itself in to the extent that it has lost all sense of purpose and appreciation for that which it is supposed to defend.

Bizarrely, I have felt more at home at EFF rallies.

Consequently, all attempts to advance these discussions and organize a referendum have been met with obstacles, deception, and delays—Stalingrad tactics reminiscent of those employed by former President Zuma.

To my mind, a growing disconnect emerged between the DA and its traditional voters in the Western Cape. I was left wondering if I had done something wrong. After many nights of consideration, it finally dawned on me with a bang.

I never left the DA; the DA left me.

And I was attempting to rejoin and understand a party that had deserted me long ago.

After engaging in numerous discussions and actively participating in conversations about the future of South Africa, both behind closed doors and in the public eye, I found myself in despair. The prevailing sentiment, openly acknowledged in private by many politicians and civil society members, is that there is little hope for substantial change in 2024—a truth they are hesitant to confess publicly.

A failed state or a failing state it makes no difference. What is being offered to the people of the Western Cape is unacceptable.

The situation became so dire that I could not simply stand on the sidelines and observe.

There are no passengers on a sinking ship. There are no medallions for those who sit on the sidelines.

As Vusi Thembekwayo has said, “The only question for all of us to answer, is not do we get involved: It is where with whom and how?”

It left me with no other choice but to join a highly sophisticated and accomplished team, spearheaded by the brilliant Phil Craig, to establish a new single-issue political party. Its sole purpose will be to do what the majority in the Western Cape wants: to achieve a referendum on Cape Independence.

To help the DA understand that this is our Cape, this is our future, and therefore, it must be our choice.

Not Alan Winde’s.

To add the option of a first-world future to the mix, and a vote for the Referendum Party is a vote for that first-world future.

My commitment to WorldView remains the same, and nothing changes to Donald self, who simply has less time for interviews. I still envision WorldView becoming a worthy media network one day, but short-term considerations must be taken into account.

Whatever your personal choice, realize that we all have our part to play. Get involved, for in 2024, leaving things to chance is not an option.

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*The founder of WorldView Media and an EXCO member at the Referendum Party

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