'She made it a race thing' - family denies being racist towards Phumzile van Damme

2019-07-07 18:25
Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

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The family accused of racism by DA MP Phumzile van Damme have denied that they were racist towards her at the popular V&A Waterfront in Cape Town in June, claiming it was Van Damme who turned the incident into a "race thing".

The family’s lawyer Carlo Viljoen told Rapport newspaper that the incident started off at a Clicks store where the family was waiting in line to pay when Van Damme tried to jump the queue ahead of them.

The family, who have decided not to lay a charge against Van Damme "out of fear of intimidation", say when they objected to Van Damme jumping the queue, she became aggressive.

"The family left the store and did not plan on saying anything, but Van Damme followed them outside and insulted the family," Viljoen told the newspaper, adding that the son was standing up for his family when Van Damme punched him.

The punch, Van Damme claimed, was in self-defence.

Van Damme on Sunday told News24 that the family's claims are all lies.

"What consequence would they face if they reported the alleged racism?" Van Damme asked. "If they claim I was racist, they should have no problem opening a case. They can even go to Clicks and request CCTV footage."

Last month, News24 reported that Van Damme claimed she had an altercation with the mother of the family after which she allegedly told her she would "push her aside". Van Damme claimed that when she went outside, the family was standing there "in a threatening manner".

"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'."

Van Damme and the popular tourist destination have since buried the hatchet after the upmarket establishment apologised, saying they hadn’t treated the matter with "the necessary objectivity, respect and empathy". 

Read more on:    phumzile van damme  |  cape town

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