Leaving, not leaving? Van Damme now says she resigned as MP and not as DA member
"Just a point of correction. I resigned as an MP. I remain a member of the DA."
JOHANNESBURG – Phumzile van Damme of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday said that she has only resigned as a Member of Parliament (MP) and a member of the party, changing the tune of Thursday's statements.
On Friday morning, Van Damme put out a tweet stating that she was not resigning from the country’s official opposition party: “Just a point of correction. I resigned as an MP. I remain a member of the DA.”
But after dropping several hints on Twitter on Thursday, Van Damme put out a statement saying she resigned as an MP and that she would not be joining any other party. The DA in a statement on Thursday also accepted her resignation as MP and as a member of the party.
Just a point of correction. I resigned as an MP. I remain a member of the DA.Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) May 21, 2021
Van Damme had issued a lengthy statement announcing her resignation as MP and her departure.
I have today tendered my resignation as a DA MP. Thank you so much, South Africa pic.twitter.com/3Z1N1rSJD5Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) May 20, 2021
The party also announced Van Damme’s departure and stated that it welcomed her resignation as both MP and party member, wishing her "well in her future endeavours".
"The DA has received and accepted the resignation of Phumzile Van Damme as a Member of Parliament and from the Party. We extend our best wishes to Phumzile and thank her for her extraordinary service to the DA in Parliament and by extension, to the party," the party said in a statement.
Earlier in May, Van Damme said that she was in a legal battle with the DA, with some members intent on punishing her for punching a man in self-defence after he threatened violence during an altercation with a family at the V&A Waterfront in June 2018. She said that she'd endured psychological abuse at the hands of those people and had undergone hours of therapy.
And in December 2020, Van Damme was forced by the DA to go on sabbatical for three months for what it said was her debilitating illness, but she insisted that her ill-health had not prevented her from doing her work and that she would challenge the decision.
But she later appeared to have changed her mind, saying she would "abide by this instruction" and would communicate with the party through her lawyers in 2021.
The DA has continued to shed black leaders over recent years over internal conflicts, which have also reflected on the party’s performance at the polls, even in this week’s by-elections.