Yunus Carrim and Floyd Shivambu go tit-for-tat in open letters

Cape Town – Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu’s latest tussle with oversight committee on finance chair Yunus Carrim reached new levels when the MPs exchanged open letters over Tuesday’s meeting, during which a National Treasury official was attacked.

At a committee meeting on Tuesday Shivambu questioned National Treasury deputy director general Ismail Momoniat’s presence at committee meetings. Carrim, in turn, criticised Shivambu for appearing to question Momoniat’s right to identify as African.

Shivambu alleged Momoniat’s presence, even at meetings where Shivambu claimed he was not required, undermined African leadership at National Treasury.

The standing committee on finance and National Treasury both condemned Shivambu’s attack on Momoniat, and both praised the deputy director general's history in the fight for constitutional democracy.

On Twitter Shivambu claimed that Momoniat had been undermining black leadership in various roles for decades.

Shivambu has since denied mentioning Momoniat's race and demanded an apology from Carrim. On Wednesday Shivambu wrote to Carrim to question his relationship with Momoniat. 

“I write to you to officially inquire if the Chairperson has any relationship with the National Treasury Deputy Director-General, Mr. Ismail Momoniat, beyond that of your position as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance?

“I write to inquire if the Chairperson has travelled with Mr. Ismail Momoniat in any of the government visit to the World Bank and/or the International Monetary Fund,” Shivambu wrote.

He asked Carrim to name who had invited him to official international events Momoniat also attended, who funded his travel and lodging on such trips, and in which capacity Carrim was invited to such trips.

Carrim then responded in his own letter with the headline “reply to your absurd letter”.

He wrote that while he was responding to Shivambu's questions, he considered them a form of race-baiting and gossip-mongering.

“The subtext of your letter and what I hear from others you’ve said over radio, is to suggest that I’m in some sort of pally-pally, subordination-of-the-parliamentary-committee-sellout-relationship with Mr Momoniat. Maybe in cahoots with… corruption? And the subtext is that my positions on your behaviour towards him are based on some sort of ‘Indian South African Brotherhood’,” said Carrim.

Carrim denied any personal relationship with Momoniat. He said that their work together was only within the context of government administration (National Treasury) and government oversight (Parliament).

He said he only met Momoniat occasionally while attending international meetings and events organised by the South African Reserve Bank. He denied that any kind of collusion took place between himself and Momoniat during these encounters.

Carrim then asked Shivambu his own set of questions, and did not shying away from mentioning an incident in April where Shivambu assaulted a journalist on the precinct of Parliament.

“I do not feel there is any value in engaging with your letter further. If you do not believe me, you are free to contact comrades Frolick and Charel de Beer, and also Comrade Jackson Mthembu, to whom I refer our correspondence,” Carrim wrote.

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