‘Irresponsible’ — Phumzile Van Damme calls out the DA for its stance on mandatory vaccination

15 September 2021 - 13:00
By Cebelihle Bhengu
Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme claims the opposition party is pandering to anti-vaxxers. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme claims the opposition party is pandering to anti-vaxxers. File photo.

Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has called out the opposition party for being “irresponsible” in its anti-mandatory vaccination stance.

Van Damme was responding to DA leader John Steenhuisen, who said on Monday the party is against mandatory vaccination. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday the government was considering a vaccine passport that will allow people access to certain events and venues. 

“There’s a right to bodily integrity. It’s enshrined in the constitution. I think for anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated, that’s their personal choice. I happen to believe in the vaccination process. I believe the more people we can get vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to some form of normality,” said Steenhuisen. 

Van Damme claimed this was hypocritical of the DA, which has been calling for the vaccine rollout, allegedly to “pander to the anti-vaxxers” for votes. 

Is this disinformation? No. Is it irresponsible? Yes. The DA has been at the forefront of advocating for vaccines. This sudden close to the election pandering to the anti-vax vote is harmful. It emboldens those who refuse vaccination and endanger lives,” she tweeted. 

She also suggested the DA was faced with the threat of losing votes from the anti-vaxxer community which is angered by Western Cape premier Alan Winde suggesting the province is considering implementing mandatory vaccinations. 

Alan Winde made mention last week that the Western Cape was looking into mandatory vaccines. Outrage from that community. That required response as it meant losing support. Pandering to the anti-vax crowd. That group now has a home. It is emboldened. It will continue to be unvaccinated,” Van Damme tweeted.

Attempts to get further comment from Van Damme were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this article. An update will be included when received.

The former MP recently launched an anti-disinformation project in partnership with civil rights organisations, including Right2Know and Code For Africa.

In the lead up to the local government elections set to take place on November 1, the project will closely monitor political parties to ensure they do not subject the public to disinformation and misinformation.