South Africa held a referendum on becoming a republic on 5 October 1960. The Afrikaans-dominated National Party, which had come to power in 1948, regarded South Africa's status as a Commonwealth realm as a relic of British Imperialism, and was strongly pro-republic. The opposition United Party actively campaigned for a 'No' vote.
Prime Minister HF Verwoed wrote an open letter to South Africa’s voting population urging them to vote in favour of a republic, for the sake of their children’s ‘unity, safety and prosperity’.
The proposal was approved by 52% of voters. The Republic of South Africa was constituted on 31 May 1961.