Andile Mngxitama
Parliament – African National Congress (ANC) MP Yunus Carrim nearly came to blows with Andile Mngxitama, the leader of Black First Land First pro-Zuma lobby, on Wednesday in public hearings on the transformation of South Africa’s financial sector.

Carrim, the chairman of the standing committee on finance, shouted at Mngxitama to leave the meeting for calling Joan Fubbs, the chairwoman of the trade and industry portfolio committee, a “fascist”.

“I have the utmost contempt for what Andile has said about Joan,” Carrim said before getting out of his seat, walking to where Mngxitama was sitting and ordering him: “Go, just go.”

Members of Black First Land First left their seats to put themselves between Carrim and their leader, who had earlier complained that it was “fascist” of Fubbs to allow MPs to interrupt him and then to warn that he had limited speaking time.

Outside the Good Hope Chamber, Mngxitama reiterated his protest to Carrim that he had called Fubbs’s intervention and not her person fascist.

“Obviously I was taken out of context. I had told her it was fascist of her, not that she was fascist, and she was cool with that and we moved on. But now he’s being fascist to behave like that.”

Earlier, Carrim and Mngxitama had sparred verbally over Black First Land First’s contention that the economy was controlled by white monopoly capital because it still controlled the means of production two decades after the fall of apartheid.

Mngxitama insisted that 90 percent of the companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange should be in black hands, touching on a highly politicised subject that sees actual figures consistently disputed in public debate.

President Jacob Zuma claims only three percent of the shares on the JSE is black-owned while the exchange itself puts black ownership of its top 100 listed companies at 23 percent.

In a presentation to the hearings on Wednesday, JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King spoke of the difficulty of determining black share-holding when national legislation did not require companies to declare the race of members, and urged politicians to encourage growth through policy certainty.

Carrim twice asked Mngxitama whether a particular form of economic dominance would be more acceptable if it were predominantly black.

“Is the challenge not the notion of monopoly itself?” he asked. “Should you not desloganise and give us something a little more concrete?”

Mngxitama dismissed his remark as disingenuous.

“You are trying to delegitimise the struggle against white monopoly capital,” the former Economic Freedom Fighters MP charged.

Carrim also objected to Mngxitama saying that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who was fired at the end of March, had blocked economic transformation.

“I find it crass and not relevant to the issue,” Carrim said.

Mngxitama defended Zuma as having the only viable idea on transforming the economy by calling for the “expropriation of white monopoly”, and said slurs against the President or the Guptas were a case of cheap moralising.

He called for a commission of inquiry into banks, which he termed “criminal agents”, and said an investigation should be held to put paid to suggestions that the Guptas operated outside the law.

Mngxitama also came to the defence of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s controversial special adviser, Chris Malikane, saying he was vilified purely for opposing the dominance of white monopoly capital.

“Let us support President Zuma … President Zuma is making the kind of move we need to push this society forward.”

The Black First Land First leader drew sniggers from ANC MPs, with one muttering “you are paid by the Guptas” as he walked past Mngxitama. The Democratic Alliance’s finance spokesman David Maynier echoed the sentiment.

“The Guptas’s foot soldiers, the BLBF movement, came here with ANN7 in tow, to provoke with their so-called Malikane proposals. And they got exactly what they wanted. All it will really achieve is five minutes of fame on ANN7,” he said.