Frequently Asked Questions

Some FAQs about sovereign power, referendums, and this platform.

What is the meaning of personal sovereign power?

The fact that no person, government, or other institution has power over your body and personal life. When it comes to that — Your decisions are independent and you are free!

What is a referendum?

A general vote by the people on a single political question. Government must obey the result of this vote – i.e. whatever the majority of the people decide to vote!

(Q: Is this perhaps why government is denying our constitutional right to hold them?)

When and where did referendums first start being used?

In Switzerland in the 16h century.

When was the last referendum held in South Africa?

On 17 March 1992, 68.3% of white South Africans voted to end apartheid.

How many countries have referendums?

22 countries hold referendums, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, France, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia.

Why do South Africans no longer have the right to hold a referendum?

Referendums are our constitutional right but, the ANC-led government has not enacted the legislation to provide for them. We have “the what”, “the why” but not “the how”, and ALL of government has done nothing to sort this out either?

If you read this article, you will learn a lot about how referendums work in Switzerland and how, prior to the arrival of an ANC-led government, we once had them in South Africa too.

Where does it state in the Constitution that we have the right to a referendum?

Chapter 5, 84. 2. G. States that The President is “responsible for calling a national referendum in terms of an act of parliament.”

What is the difference between a referendum and public participation?

Public participation via comments made dearSA is useful and important in terms of educating government about the will and concern of the people, if the government reads them and takes them on board. 

Public participation via hearings is useful and important in terms of educating both the government and the people about potential issues and concerns – again, only if the government listens and takes the people’s will and feelings on board.

Public participation is not a specific vote on a specific topic for a specific reason.

During the public participation process, you can make as many comments of whatever sort as you like, but at the end of the day, the general public cannot see what the general public is really thinking, and the government can (and does, on occasion) ignore public comments and feedback.

Government can also decide whether they even allow comment, leaving the public out of the mix!

With regard to a properly-run referendum, the public should be able to call one via some sort of process that is not under government control. 

And, if a majority of eligible South African voters vote on a specific issue (even in an unofficial referendum like those found on, that vote holds a specific meaning, i.e. a yes/​no to an issue or set of issues, and could have legal ramifications as the votes can be verified, used in court, used to pressure MPs, and also be presented to international human rights organizations. 

To give an example, could call a referendum on whether the current government should be replaced or not. If a majority of eligible South Africans vote “yes”, then that decision and desire of the people is very difficult for the current government to escape and ignore. 

We are a democracy, and if they ignore us, they are showing all their cards and true colors!

On the other hand, it’s highly unlikely that a government that has stolen the constitutional and democratic rights of the South African people to a referendum will ever call public hearings to see if this should be the case!

Our referendums are not intended to replace public participation hearings.

We aim to use referendums to augment the process, as our numbers can be used in court action, apply specific pressure to Members of Parliament, be presented to international human and civil rights organizations, and, if needed, be used as a more definitive last resort.

How could self-governance via referendums once again be incorporated into government?

South Africans used to have the ability to vote in referendums until 1992!

22 countries including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, France, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia hold regular referendums. Referendums are standard in civilized countries and are our constitutional right.

Why must I provide my ID number when casting my vote?

South African ID numbers are required for the purposes of referendum legitimacy and to ensure one vote per person.

All information submitted, including ID numbers, is encrypted and stored securely on our server. This information will not be shared with any third-party.

For more information, please read the section below, entitled “Is my data safe and secure?”, as well as our our Privacy Policy.

Can South Africans living overseas vote?

Yes, with pleasure – if you have valid South African ID.

Is my data safe and secure?

How we protect your information

  • Information we collect is kept confidential, unless inspected in-situ (in person) by a government authority to verify referendum authenticity.

  • Personal information is encrypted and cannot be read by a third party, even if the database were to be compromised in any way.

  • We run a secure server that has tight access controls. Access by anyone, other than us, is DENIED!

  • All information transmitted to and from the Site is always encrypted.

  • We are POPIA compliant, and will only use information collected with your express consent.

Can my vote be cancelled or changed after it has been cast?

As is the case with the voting process in a government election, or a referendum in countries that offer them, we are unable to cancel or change any votes that have been cast. a red list initiative © 2022—2024, All Rights Reserved.