DA insists Phumzile van Damme sabbatical is for her own good

Phumzile van Damme took to Twitter to express her dismay.

FILE: Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme arrives on the red carpet outside Parliament for the 2020 State of the Nation Address. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Natasha Mazzone on Saturday said whether MP Phumzile van Damme agreed or not, the decision for her to go on sabbatical for three months was made because of her debilitating illness.

Van Damme took to Twitter to express her dismay.

She insisted she was still able to work, and added she wasn’t consulted and would challenge the decision.

Eyewitness News spoke to Mazzone on Saturday, who said the decision has been made and that DA leader John Steenhuisen believed van Damme needed to take some downtime to fully recover.

She said the party was doing this for her own good.

“John Steenhuisen did speak to her in the morning but her continued ill-health is something that is well known and well-documented and part of leadership is knowing when someone in your caucus or in your party is suffering. She will be able to continue coming to Parliament with pleasure but as the shadow Cabinet stands at the moment – she is not a member of the shadow Cabinet.”

Van Damme insisted her ill-health has not prevented her from doing her work.

But Mazzone disagreed: "If Phumzile decides not to go on sabbatical, it's her choice but the offer was made. It is still the recommendation of John Steenhuisen and myself that she take the three-month sabbatical but if she chooses not to it, will be her choice."

Van Damme intends challenging the decision.

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