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Van Damme’s resignation points to party in crisis - analyst

Phumzile van Damme. Picture: Bongani Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Phumzile van Damme. Picture: Bongani Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 24, 2021


Cape Town - A political analyst says the sudden resignation of DA MP Phumzile van Damme is not good for the image of the party.

Van Damme resigned on Wednesday evening and said her decision to leave the party was done with a heavy heart. “I worked hard and made sure I excelled; and reflecting on my time as an MP I can unequivocally say that I am happy with my career and the mark that I leave behind through my contribution to South African politics,” she said.

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Her announcement came just days before the party had planned to host their virtual rally on Saturday.

“The sudden resignation adds to an image of a party in crisis because there have been a lot of departures before hers. There were also people who were accused of (possessing) qualifications which they don’t have, so this just adds to an already bad situation,” said Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana

Speaking on the weekend’s event, DA national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the party was “extremely pleased” with the outcome of their virtual rally as they revealed that 11 000 viewers logged in.

The rally comes at a time when the opposition is embroiled in a number of scandals, including the qualifications saga.

Late last week DA councillor Nora Grose made a brief appearance in the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud and money laundering after Covid-19 relief funds were stolen.

Last month Bonginkosi Madikizela submitted his resignation as both DA Western Cape leader and Transport and Public Works MEC after he was called out for falsifying qualifications.

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Gwarube said the party was satisfied with how they had managed to bring all nine provinces on one platform.

“We had over 11 000 people logged in the platform and hundreds of small watch parties in communities across the country.

“This to us speaks to how innovating can help us prepare for the election ahead in a way that is still impactful and safe. That’s why we are of the view that we ought to have an election should the IEC be able to guarantee a free, fair and safe election.”

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In his virtual rally speech, DA leader John Steenhuisen said the party has their eyes first set on the October 27 local government elections.

“Nothing will deter us. But not everyone seems to share this urgency and this eagerness to go to the polls in October. Our opponents are trying their best to wriggle their way out of it. They’re either simply not prepared for this campaign, or they fear what voters might say to them on the day. And so they talk about postponing, and they make up excuses,” said Steenhuisen.

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Political Bureau

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DAJohn Steenhuisen