'Does she feel like a race traitor to you? Heal' – Phumzile Van Damme defends EFF candidate Jesse Griesel

04 October 2021 - 14:00
Former MP Phumzile Van Damme has defended UCT student and EFF SRC candidate Jess Griesel. File photo.
Former MP Phumzile Van Damme has defended UCT student and EFF SRC candidate Jess Griesel. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has come out in defence of UCT student and EFF SRC candidate Jess Griesel after a DA councillor questioned her decision to join the red berets. 

Griesel announced her SRC candidacy, saying she wants to pursue “free, quality, decolonised higher education” and to address the challenges and struggles of university employees and marginalised students.

But her decision to affiliate with the red berets did not sit well with DA councillor Renaldo Gouws, who suggested Griesel joined the party for “fame” rather than principle and value.

Van Damme called Gouws out for alleged cyberbullying.

“Does she feel like a race traitor to you? Heal,” Van Damme tweeted. 

You've been attacking this young woman for days. What’s it to you what political party she joins? And in such a venomous way. It’s the same language used against black DA supporters. There’s something very wrong with you, man. Does she feel like a race traitor to you? Heal.

Griesel, who did not respond to Gouws, said political leaders need to be more aware of the struggles of students and other marginalised groups on campus.

“Every student lives a different reality from each other. Student leaders must be intersectional in their approach to representing the struggles of students. No students must be left behind, particularly marginalised students,” she said in a statement. 


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