War of words between DA’s Phumzile Van Damme & EFF's Nazier Paulsen over alleged threats of violence

The DA's Phumzile Van Damme
The DA's Phumzile Van Damme

DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has slammed EFF MP Nazier Paulsen for allegedly threatening to beat her up in parliament.

The alleged incident took place earlier this week during a hybrid sitting of the National Assembly.

Paulsen and Van Damme were both told to leave the sitting after tensions boiled over.

Addressing the issue on Twitter on Wednesday, Van Damme said Paulsen had threatened to beat her up during the verbal squabble.

According to Van Damme, she told deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli about the threat but instead of taking it up, he told her she was “provocative,” and that's when she was kicked out of the house.

“One day I will tell the story of the PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) I’ve battled over the last 2 years as twice having to defend myself as two men held me, threatening to beat me up, busting my lip and another time a man wrangled my phone out of my hand. Paulsen's threat to beat me up triggered my PTSD,” said Van Damme.

Van Damme said the incident caused her to have a panic attack which DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone talked her through and made sure that she was fine.

“I thought I was [fine] and drove home battling another one that hit. And another that hit when I got home. That is my life after experiences of violence with men, PTSD,” she said.

Responding to Van Damme's claims, Paulsen denied that he threatened to beat her up, saying that he was willing to take a lie-detector test to prove his innocence.

“I would never do that to any woman,” he said. “It’s sad that you must peddle such lies and distortions. Do you deny charging to attack me and calling me a c**t in the presence of many witnesses?”

Paulsen said Van Damme was the one who verbally abused him during the sitting.

“I can show you the recording on my phone if you wish,” he said.

The two continued exchanging blows, with Van Damme pulling up a video that shows Paulsen charging towards her.

“You deserved every word I called you when I found you in the courtyard after telling me you’d beat me up. And more. One day you’ll be locked up,” said Van Damme.

In a back and forth exchange, Paulsen maintained that he would never threaten to beat up a woman, saying that he “understand too well the struggles of black women”. 

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