phumzile van damme da

Phumzile van Damme blasts DA ‘clique’ in resignation letter

Andile Sicetsha - 21.05.2021

Phumzile van Damme received a short ‘thanks’ from the DA after years of braving storms faced by the party.

Phumzile van Damme is the latest high-ranking member of the Democratic Alliance (DA) to tender her resignation and in between the lines of the politically correct verbiage she used in her letter, nuances of an internal rift were found.

Was Phumzile van Damme forced into resigning?

In December 2020, Swisher Post News reported on a public spat involving DA leader John Steenhuisen and Van Damme. At the time, it was revealed that the now-former shadow minister of communications had been placed on a three-month sabbatical due to her lifelong battle with a functional neurological disorder.

However, Van Damme, who had not asked for this courtesy, challenged Steenhuisen and refused to accept the leave.

“I didn’t request it. He merely informed me. I could walk away, but I choose to stay, and challenge it ON PRINCIPLE,” she tweeted on Friday 4 December 2020.

This defiance, it seems, would lose steam in a matter of five months since Van Damme sent shockwaves across South Africa’s political arena with her resignation announcement.

In her statement, she made it clear that following her exit, her next move would not be “joining another political party or using [her] time to launch attacks on the DA.”

“I leave on my own terms, having made my own decision,” Van Damme added.

However, to clear the air, the former DA member confirmed that her exit was, in a way, forced by “a clique of individuals.”

“In order not to make the good women and men still in the DA suffer, I will not delve further into this,” she hinted.

DA’s tribute to Van Damme

Van Damme’s resignation was confirmed by the party on the same day. In a brief statement published by national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube, the DA accepted the resignation and thanked Van Damme “for her extraordinary service to the DA in Parliament and by extension, the country.”

“From taking on Bell Pottinger, fighting for an independent SABC and her tenure as DA National Spokesperson – Phumzile demonstrated her talent as a political communicator and a parliamentarian. DA wishes Phumzile well in her future endeavours,” the party’s statement read.

The tensions that were not addressed by the party were seen in Van Damma’e final parting words. The former shadow communications minister vowed to not reciprocate attacks from the DA if they were to surface as a response to her exit.

“Should the party choose to destroy my reputation and impugn my character, I will not engage in a back-and-forth. My good record of service and work speaks for itself,” she wrote.

At least, at this time, no shots have come from the side of the DA whose focus is honed in entirely on the upcoming local government elections.