Cape Town - Parliament’s standing committee on finance has condemned EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s charge, in a meeting on Tuesday, that Treasury’s deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat was “un-African”.
Shivambu had accused Momoniat of being un-African and disregarding African leaders at the Treasury.
On Tuesday, during a heated exchange, Shivambu questioned the repeated presence of Momoniat at finance committee meetings, instead of the department’s director general Dondo Mogajane, and charged that this undermined African “representativeness”.
In March Shivambu was also embroiled in controversy after his violent attack on journalists inside the parliamentary precinct. Shivambu later apologised and no criminal charges against him had been laid.
“The committee has persistently encouraged the National Treasury to ensure that its senior officials are more representative of South Africa’s racial and gender demographics. It has also consistently called for the entire financial sector to be more demographically representative,” said finance committee chairperson Yunus Carrim.
While Shivambu had been invited to these debates, Carrim said his “crude” attack on Momoniat was unwarranted and inconsistent with South Africa’s “non-racial principles necessary for a transformative agenda that addresses race, class and gender inequalities”.
“Of course, you can’t have non-racialism without African leadership, but you also cannot exclude non-Africans simply on the basis of their race. What next? Are we going to dismiss the contribution of Ahmed Kathrada, Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph and Dulcie September simply on the grounds of race?
“We don’t have to compromise one iota on the need for African leadership while accepting the role of outstanding public servants like Mr Momoniat,” said Carrim.
He said the committee had no evidence that Momoniat was corrupt, as claimed by Shivambu.
“In fact, the committee knows him to be an extremely hardworking, honest, skilled and experienced official who served both the anti-apartheid struggle and the new democracy selflessly. The committee reaffirmed its confidence in Mr Momoniat this morning,” said Carrim.
The committee called on MPs to guard against “adding fuel to the growing racial polarisation occurring in the country while being unapologetic about campaigning vigorously to reduce the huge racial and class divides”.