'I was told to lay off Facebook': Phumzile van Damme on real reason she left DA

Taking to her Twitter account, Phumzile van Damme said that she resigned because she had been told to 'lay off Facebook' by Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone.

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 - Three months after her shock exit as a Member of Parliament and a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Phumzile van Damme has revealed the real reason behind her resignation.

Taking to her Twitter account, Van Damme said that she resigned because she had been told to "lay off Facebook" by DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone.

At the time, she had led a campaign to get local representatives of the social media giant to answer a number of questions before a portfolio committee in Parliament on whether it had played a role in misinformation related to politics. Facebook pulled out of that meeting at the last minute.

Neither Mazzone or Steenhuisen have responded to her tweets.

Relations between van Damme and her party were already fragile at the time of her resignation.

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 Cape Town in June 2018.

She said that she'd endured psychological abuse at the hands of those people and had undergone hours of therapy.

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. However, she was returned to her role before the so-called sabbatical was over.

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