DA MP Phumzile van Damme and former Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA)
DA MP Phumzile van Damme and former Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA)

DA mum on Twitter spat between Zille, Van Damme over alleged racist incident

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Jun 24, 2019

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Cape Town – The DA has remained mum on yet another controversial tweet by former Western Cape premier Helen Zille, this time relating to an alleged racist incident at the V&A Waterfront.

Zille and DA MP Phumzile van Damme were on Sunday embroiled in a Twitter spat over Van Damme’s calling out of racists at the centre, during which Van Damme said she was forced to punch a man in the head in self-defence, after he and his family attacked and threatened her.

On Sunday, a Twitter user insinuated Van Damme was the alleged instigator in the incident. “So it turns out my suspicions that #PvD was the aggressor + architect of the #PhantomRacism incident in the #VAndAWaterfront. Eyewitness reports place her as the instigator. Now can the family please come forward + charge her with aggravated assault? I will not pay her salary,” read the tweet.

Zille then jumped in and questioned where the tweeter’s information was sourced.

“I wish the family would come forward and give us their perspective but I suppose they are scared of potential consequences. It is hard, in these circumstances, to work out where the truth lies,” Zille tweeted.

Van Damme then hit back at her tweet, saying she would not allow Zille to invalidate her experience.

“What potential consequences would that be, Helen? Confirming their racism? I told them in the video they recorded that they must please make it public to show their racism. 

"You’ve clearly made your mind up, so? I will not kowtow to anyone who seeks to invalidate my experience.

“Anyone with an iota of intelligence would watch Petzer’s video & laugh. You invalidate MY experience. I was made to feel subhuman. I was threatened. 

"In addition to that I must be dragged through the mud & you gladly join the mob with your 1m followers? I don’t kowtow to bullies,” tweeted Van Damme. Zille responded saying she had not attacked the DA MP. “I didn’t attack you Phumz.

“Last time I looked, audi alteram partem was a core DA value. We must apply it in all cases including those that involve us.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson, Azola Mboniswa, said: “It would be premature to give a public comment at this stage. 

"I can not confirm whether the leader has seen the tweets or not, hence I am saying to you it would be jumping the gun at this point.”

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