Cape Town – Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu’s campaign to cast a senior National Treasury official as a big capital bogeyman did not let up, even after a dramatic committee meeting in Parliament on Tuesday.
On Tuesday Business Day reported that Shivambu objected to National Treasury’s deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat being present at a meeting of the standing committee on finance because he was a “non-African”.
Shivambu, according to the article, questioned the absence of director general Dondo Mogajane from the meeting and asked why Momoniat felt the need to be at every standing committee on finance meeting. This drew the ire of committee chair Yunus Carrim who called Shivambu to order.
The newspaper reported that Shivambu accused Momoniat of having a superiority complex which would not allow him to take orders from African seniors. Momoniat, according to Business Day, rejected "with contempt" his unsubstantiated allegations.
Shivambu's remarks caused a stir on Twitter, where some supported the EFF leader for standing up to a perceived enemy of radical economic transformation, while others slammed him for apparent race baiting.
Tiso Blackstar politics editor Ranjeni Munusamy tweeted at Shivambu saying: “Hi @FloydShivambu. If you do not know who Ismail Momoniat is, ask. There are many people, even people you might consider to be inferior like me, who could help you. Happy to help anytime Sir. [sic]”
Shivambu would not back down, even replying to Munusamy saying: “Hi @RanjeniM, I know who Ismail Momoniat is. He’s historically part of a Cabal that divided the MDM. He’s also the Neo-liberal technocrat who doesn’t respect African leadership. He thinks he owns National Treasury. You can share more information. What else?”
In that tweet Shivambu attached a screenshot of a webpage that alluded to the Mass Democratic Movement – of which Momoniat was part – which referenced the "manipulating role of certain Indians and Whites".
The EFF, in a later media statement, did not back down from what Shivambu had said. It again alleged that Momoniat "does not recognize the African leadership", adding that his struggle credentials were exaggerated.
Former Gauteng premier and COPE leader Mbhazima Shilowa tweeted that Shivambu's remarks were a "sad day for the struggle for a non-racial society".
"Momoniat worked in the underground structures of the ANC and SACP and helped in rebuilding them. His credentials are impeccable. This is not to say one can’t differ with his current political and ideological outlook. Sad!"