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'Women’s bodies are not a political battleground' — Van Damme defends Lindiwe Sisulu in outfit debate

06 July 2021 - 09:00 By kyle zeeman
Phumzile Van Damme defended Lindiwe Sisulu.
Phumzile Van Damme defended Lindiwe Sisulu.
Image: REUTERS/Neil Hall

Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has weighed in on the debate around the outfit minister Lindiwe Sisulu wore to a meeting in Nkandla, telling her followers that “women’s bodies are not a political battleground”.

The human settlements, water and sanitation minister turned heads over the weekend when she arrived at former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead dressed to the nines.

While some dragged Sisulu's choice of outfit, questioning how she was able to navigate the terrain at Nkandla in designer heels, Van Damme took to social media to call critics to order.

“You could critique minister Lindiwe Sisulu without mentioning her body or how she dresses. It’s possible. Women’s bodies are not a political battleground,” she wrote.

When approached previously for comment on her social media posts, Van Damme said she was simply sharing her observations.

Van Damme also corrected those who suggested the minister is a “princess” and asked why people were focused on her outfit and not on what she had said about the meeting in Nkandla.

Speaking of her meeting with Zuma, Sisulu said she and others from the ANC had been “deployed” to meet the former president and “make sure everything is in order”.

“Earlier today we met with former president Jacob Zuma. We have been deployed here. Our job is to make sure everything is in order because ultimately the people who are here [at Nkandla] are members of the ANC so we have a direct responsibility,” she said.

She told 702 that she was not at the residence long but denied the gathering at the house was in defiance of lockdown rules and regulations.

“I was not there for long, I probably spent 30 to 40 minutes as I had to go to a meeting which was in Durban. I inspected the place, greeted the soldiers, and what I hear from the radio as having happened is very different from what I witnessed when I was there,” she said.