Brian Shivambu.
Brian Shivambu.

OPINION | Have ‘champions of the poor’ been caught red-handed?

By Kashiefa Ajam Time of article published Oct 13, 2018

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There's an age-old saying that if you live in glass houses, you shouldn’t throw stones. This week, the EFF, South Africa’s feisty second opposition party, found that out - with interest.

The red overall-wearing, red bereted champions of the poor were fingered front and centre in the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) report into the shameless plunder of VBS, the ostensibly black-owned bank that the SARB had been accused - by the EFF - of unfairly targeting.

All the tired, tawdry and toxic race cards were played at the time. The invective was public; it was frantically vicious.
No one really understood the underlying animus of someone no less than EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s shameful racist attacks on Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat. 

It was an appalling and unjustified attack on a very fine public servant.
This week it all became crystal clear when Shivambu’s brother Brian, himself a senior EFF office bearer, was said to have benefited to the tune of R16million from what advocate Terry Motau, SC, termed the Great Bank Heist - the industrial grade looting of R2billion to 53 politically connected individuals.

But that’s not all: early reports suggest that the money was funnelled to Shivambu himself.
A can of worms has been opened, with more scandals lurking in the wings. 

The “smallanyana” skeletons, coined by Bathabile Dlamini in perhaps her only meaningful contribution to our politics, are now being exposed to the harsh light of day and the EFF, the self-proclaimed defenders of the poor, have been silent. 

Yet only hours before they had been the loudest mob riding former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene out of town.
The hypocrisy has been as blinding as it has been nauseating.

Let the guilty - all of them - be exposed, prosecuted - and jailed without fear, favour or prejudice.
There must be no mercy.

The Saturday Star

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