Van Damme's exit as DA MP a significant loss for party - analysts

Phumzile Van Damme announced on Thursday night that she was resigning from Parliament.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Analysts are weighing in on the latest high profile Democratic Alliance (DA) departure, saying that the loss of Phumzile Van Damme would further diminish the party’s attractiveness to younger voters.

Van Damme announced on Thursday night that she was resigning from Parliament. The party followed up with a statement confirming her resignation from both Parliament and the party.

But on Friday morning, Van Damme clarified that she was only resigning as an MP and not as a DA member.

Van Damme has had several run-ins with the party's current leadership, which saw her being removed as shadow communications minister and being placed on a sabbatical last year.

To some, it was only a matter of time before Van Damme followed other prominent black leaders out of the party.

And while her departure might elicit sighs of relief in some DA quarters, analysts said that it was a significant loss.

Political Futures’ analyst Daniel Silke said that developments such as these were further obstacles.

"A party needs young, exuberant, articulate members and this slow drip away from the DA by all of these personalities, including Maimane and Mashaba and van Damme will certainly disable the party."

Analyst Ralph Mathekga believed that losing Van Damme created worrying optics for the DA as it strove to present itself as a multi-racial party.

"You need to allow external players to come into that. She was a dedicated member of the DA, so it does matter."

Van Damme was currently involved a legal battle with the party – she has said that she would not join another outfit nor be drawn into criticising the DA on social media.

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