War of words between DA’s Phumzile Van Damme & EFF's Nazier Paulsen over alleged threats of violence
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.
I rise to let the Deputy Speaker know that Paulsen just threatened to beat me up, instead of taking this up, he tells me I was “provocative,” and kicks me out of the House. The joys of being a woman, isn’t it lovely?— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 3, 2021
As a woman, in public I always have a 360 view of who’s around me. Will it be today I am mugged? Will it be today I’m kidnapped? Will it be today I am raped? This is the reality of many women in SA. For some privilege protects you from this life & you’ll invalidate this reality— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 3, 2021
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.
Your own colleagues were witness to me walking away while you verbally abused me. I can show you the recording on my phone if you wish.— Nazier Paulsen (@NazierPaulsen) March 3, 2021
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.
This after earlier you’d charged at the MP sitting behind me & I instinctively jumped up to prevent you from doing so. You’re a thug. You threaten and act on the violence against fellow MPs all the time. Want me to find that footage when you do so. Don’t play with me. pic.twitter.com/7G3xqbcDYF— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 3, 2021
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”.
I have never threatened any woman, EVER. I understand too well the struggles of black women.— Nazier Paulsen (@NazierPaulsen) March 3, 2021
You badgered me. Now you claim to be the victim. You tagged me. Do you see the pattern?— Nazier Paulsen (@NazierPaulsen) March 3, 2021
I just thought a more mature thing than looking for attention on social media and playing the victim would be a face to face talk. Sorry I was wrong again. My humblest apologies Phumzile— Nazier Paulsen (@NazierPaulsen) March 3, 2021
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