Ahmed Kathrada Foundation executive director Neeshan Balton on Thursday denounced the “profoundly racist, politically reckless and highly inflammatory comments” made by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parliamentary Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, who targeted Treasury deputy director-general, Ismail Momoniat.
On Tuesday Shivambu made comments during a parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance meeting that Momoniat was "not African" and questioned why he attended all finance committee meetings in Parliament instead of the "African" director-general, Dondo Mogajane.
“It is extremely disturbing that not being an African is singled out as an issue by Shivambu and his party. Shivambu’s comments leave South Africans believing that there is a concerted effort by the EFF to malign Momoniat personally to deflect National Treasury from taking a tough stance against institutions such as the VBS Bank,” said Balton.
He questioned how a single MP could dictate who government designated to represent Treasury at parliamentary meetings.
Mogajane has since indicated that Momoniat was acting on his “direct authority and instructions” and that they had met prior to the meeting to plan Treasury’s approach.
Meanwhile, the EFF has thrown its weight behind its deputy president accusing Momoniat of being un-African and disregarding African leaders at the Treasury.
Balton said that while struggle veterans are not above scrutiny or debate over their views and policy decisions, it was “intensely distasteful” that Shivambu went on to try and discredit Momoniat’s contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle since the late 1970s.
“Momoniat’s contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle is exemplary and sincere,” Balton concluded.