DA MP Phumzile Van Damme says she will not be “sacrificed at the altar” after a media report that the party is looking into a request to probe an alleged racist altercation she was involved in at the V&A Waterfront earlier this year.
News24 previously reported that Van Damme had said that she had punched a young man “in self-defence”, after she claimed he came into her space and said “voetsek you black” and threw her phone on the ground.
In a video on Twitter, Van Damme explained what had happened in her view, saying she was standing in a queue when she became involved in a quarrel with the mother of a family at one of the supermarkets. The mother allegedly told her she would “push [her] aside”.
“Then, when I went out, she was standing there with her family in a threatening manner. And I went to her and said, ‘why are you looking at me in a threatening manner?’ Then she said, ‘it’s because you’re black’.”
Rapport reported that DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe had initially decided not to refer the complaint against Van Damme to the party’s Federal Judicial Council, because of discrepancies between her account and that of the family involved in the altercation, who have denied the allegations.
DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia, himself no stranger to controversy, was dissatisfied with this course of action, it was reported.
He subsequently wrote a strongly-worded letter to Selfe, asking him to reconsider his decision.
Selfe, on Sunday, confirmed to Rapport that he was indeed reconsidering the decision.
Van Damme has since taken to Twitter to share her thoughts on the matter and the prospect of the investigation being opened.
Van Damme disputed the report, and said she had “received no official correspondence from the party” that she had been charged.
She was only “verbally informed that there will be an investigation” to determine whether she should be charged, and that it was ”unfortunate that this is the route that has been chosen…”.
She said it was “mighty interesting” that the decision to discipline her seemed to emanate from correspondence between Cachalia and Selfe.
Van Damme tweeted that she won’t be “sacrificed at the altar”.
Van Damme reiterated that she had responded in self-defence and had taken a stand against racism.
She added that, at the risk of sounding like former president Jacob Zuma, she would write about “the year that has been 2019 in the DA”.
Attempts to get further comment from Selfe were unsuccessful at the time of publication.