CapeXit defends '800,000 registrations' amid legitimacy concerns

01 June 2021 - 14:35 By anthony molyneaux
Supporters of an independent Western Cape march in Stellenbosch on December 5 2020. File.
Supporters of an independent Western Cape march in Stellenbosch on December 5 2020. File.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

A disinformation researcher has brought into question the validity of independent activist organisation CapeXit's claim of having close to one million registrations in support of an independent Western Cape after registering on the organisation's website using a fake name and ID number on Sunday.

“I just registered using a made-up name, a made-up e-mail address, a made-up phone number and a made-up ID number. This is a grift,” said Jean le Roux on Twitter.

“It's about these membership numbers [CapeXit] are claiming and how reliable their database is if [until yesterday] the registration process didn't even bother to validate the ID number entered. There are also real questions about registering someone else without their knowledge.”

On their website, CapeXit claims they have more than 800,000 registrations from  residents calling for the Western Cape to split from SA.

When approached for comment on the allegation about false registrations, CapeXit said they had migrated their IT services to a new company in April due to their old systems being “outdated”. This migration created “teething problems”.

We are fully aware of this and acknowledge without condition. However, this does not detract from our sincerity in the integrity of our members' data, or the numbers thereof [sic],” said Rian Brandt, CapeXit's marketing and public relations director.

The current system implemented recently will verify SA identity number only.  It did previously accept numbers that simulates an identity number but that has already been updated and corrected.

“We have very skilled people working behind the scenes to ensure that the information we gather is managed with utmost care and accuracy.”

The Western Cape is roughly the same size as England and has close to 7 million people residing in the province. In recent months, CapeXit - an independent activist organisation, says hundreds of thousands of people have been registered on their website calling for the Western Cape to split away from South Africa and become its own country.

When testing the claim that only verified ID numbers would be accepted, the website rejected a registration using a made-up ID number on Tuesday morning.

Screenshot of CapeXit registration attempt on June 1 2021.
Screenshot of CapeXit registration attempt on June 1 2021.
Image: Screengrab

When asked if CapeXit could reveal the correct number of membership registrations, they said they could not reveal their “membership data”.

Our membership data is not on the table for discussion but an audited report on our membership will be made available once we have same done by an independent entity.  We have nothing to hide, nor anything to be ashamed of,” said Brandt.