The Herald (South Africa)

DA’s Van Damme quits as party spokeswoma­n

- Aphiwe Deklerk

RISING DA star Phumzile van Damme has surprising­ly quit her job as the party’s national spokeswoma­n.

Van Damme reportedly told DA top brass of her decision two weeks ago‚ but the party has kept this under wraps due to the factional battle in the City of Cape Town, where the party is trying to remove Patricia de Lille as mayor.

She is the third high-profile member to quit a public post in recent months.

Earlier this month‚ former DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli quit her job as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislatur­e to become the party’s provincial head of campaign strategy.

And late last year, Gavin Davis quit as the party’s head of policy and media.

Coming at a time when De Lille continues to fight to save her political life in the party‚ Van Damme’s resignatio­n is likely to further fuel the perception of a sidelining of strong black women in the DA.

DA insiders with knowledge of Van Damme’s resignatio­n said she took the decision because she did not get enough support as a national spokeswoma­n.

Health reasons were also cited‚ a party insider said.

One of the things Van Damme was reportedly upset with – and which she voiced to party leadership – was the party’s decision not to support the ANC-sponsored motion of no confidence in De Lille‚ choosing instead to bring its own. “It is hypocritic­al. “We say the same thing about the ANC in parliament‚ about voting with a conscience‚” the insider said. Van Damme confirmed her resignatio­n, but did not want to give reasons.

“The reasons I have provided I discussed with the party leadership‚ some of which are private‚” she said.

A DA insider familiar with the party’s communicat­ions structures called it disappoint­ing that Van Damme had resigned because she was treated as a darling of the party ahead of the other spokeswoma­n‚ Refiloe Ntsekhe.

She was assigned the highprofil­e issues‚ the insider said.

“She is sent to communicat­e on all the strategic media [issues] while Refiloe is sent to ANN7‚” the source said.

She said she had no idea why Van Damme would resign, given the special treatment she had received.

Another DA insider said he was aware that Van Damme had quit her post‚ but thought the matter was still being negotiated internally.


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