'I will not resign, let's fight,' says Phumzile van Damme on DA 'charges'

07 September 2020 - 10:40 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Phumzile van Damme says she was surprised to read about the charges against her in the 'Sunday Times' this past Sunday.
Phumzile van Damme says she was surprised to read about the charges against her in the 'Sunday Times' this past Sunday.
Image: Esa Alexander

DA shadow minister of communications Phumzile van Damme was unaware of the apparent charges against her by her party until she read a report in the Sunday Times.

“What a fascinating story in the Sunday Times today about the 'DA purge,' wherein I, for the first time, find out the contents of the report I will be charged on. I've found almost all the details in the press. Not FedEx nor FLC [federal legal commission] has had the decency to inform me first. We are led,” she wrote.

The Sunday Times reported that at least seven senior DA leaders, including Van Damme, are facing charges of bringing the party into disrepute. The majority of these leaders are black and were supporters of former leader Mmusi Maimane and not of interim leader John Steenhuisen.

The charges by the commission include Van Damme's “unpleasant confrontation” with a family at the V&A Waterfront in June last year

She said a member of his family was filming her and, when she took pictures of her, the young man slammed Van Damme's phone on the floor and said “voetsek, you black”, in a “threatening tone”.

The DA, in its documents, said the “aggressive” and “loud” altercation could have been avoided as a “higher degree of self-control” was expected from public representatives.

Van Damme accused the party of using the same strategy on her that it used to oust Maimane. She called it “leaks warfare”.

“I mean the same strategy was used to hound Mmusi out of the party ... And am I supposed to do what in response to this? Turn the other cheek? Shrink? Leave? LMAO,” she wrote.

She said she would not accept an apology, as her name has been “dragged through the mud”.

“You want this to play out in public? Sure, no problem, send me an e-mail and we can tango,” she wrote.

She also made it clear that she would not resign, as that would be the “easy way out”. 

Glynnis Breytenbach, the chair of the commission, declined to answer questions sent by TimesLIVE.

“The FLC does not comment on nor discuss disciplinary matters, which are internal party matters, in the media,” she said.