A wrap of the weekend that was in the DA: Mzansi reacts to Van Damme's 'unsolicited' sabbatical

The DA's Phumzile Van Damme.
The DA's Phumzile Van Damme.
Image: Esa Alexander

DA MP and shadow communications and technology minister Phumzile Van Damme continues to dominate the conversation on Twitter after the party leader gave her an “unsolicited” sabbatical until March next year.

Here's a wrap of the weekend that was in the opposition party:

Friday: Van Damme lashes out at Steenhuisen

Van Damme alleged on Friday that DA leader John Steenhuisen had given her a sabbatical, even though she had not asked for it. She said she was on sick leave for three months and was due to return to work on December 15. She accused the party of using her illness to sideline her.

In a series of tweets, Van Damme said she had worked hard despite being sick and would challenge the sabbatical on principle.

Did I drop the ball while I was sick? No. Even when I was sick, like I do when I am well, did I still outperform many of my colleagues? Yes,” she tweeted.

“I asked for no sabbatical. I determine my health, my doctors determine my health, not my employer.”

The MP declined to give TimesLIVE comment.

Saturday: Steenhuisen confirms sabbatical

Steenhuisen told the SABC on Saturday that he had considered making changes to his cabinet since his election last month. He said he had Van Damme's “best interest at heart” when he granted her the sabbatical.

“I have had to make changes to my shadow cabinet after my election, having inherited a cabinet I did not appoint. It is the prerogative of the leader to do so and has been exercised by every DA leader,” said Steenhuisen.

Saturday: 'I know what's good for me,' says Van Damme

Van Damme said she “had a firm handle on my health” and that she could make her own decisions. She was responding to former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, who conveyed his well wishes to the MP.

Twitter reactions 

On Twitter, meanwhile, some suggested that Van Damme should join ActionSA, the political party formed by former DA member and Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba. She made it clear that she would not be leaving the DA or joining another party.

Others suggested the “sabbatical” was an effort to push her out of the DA.

Here are some of the reactions:


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