Floyd Shivambu and the EFF condemned as racist over ‘non-African’ outburst

The party has, however, doubled down on its position, insisting that struggle veteran Ismail Momoniat 'undermines Africans'.

Following the extraordinary news that EFF deputy president and chief whip Floyd Shivambu objected to the presence of a man, a distinguished struggle veteran no less, in parliament on Tuesday simply on the basis of his race, he and his party have faced an avalanche of criticism.

Shivambu objected to “non-African” Ismail Momoniat’s “repeated presence” in meetings. Deputy director-general Momoniat is a Treasury representative, and Shivambu took issue with why Momoniat attended all finance committee meetings instead of his African counterpart Dondo Mogajane.

Shivambu reportedly said: “I think he undermines Africans. He does not take the director-general, the finance minister or the deputy finance minister seriously. He thinks he is superior to them. He takes all the decisions and he is always here in Parliament as if he is National Treasury alone. He is supposed to focus on what he is assigned to.”

The finance committee chairman, Yunus Carrim, was outraged, calling Shivambu to order and telling Shivambu that Momoniat was a struggle veteran who had been active in the underground struggle against apartheid. He pointed out to Shivambu that his logic implied that former Bophuthatswana leader Lucas Mangope should be seen as more important than Indian struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada, purely for reasons of race, which he would not do.

Rapport editor Waldimar Pelser on Twitter called for the EFF to be treated the way “all racial nationalists and racists” should be treated, “namely with contempt”. Author Max du Preez called it “reprehensible”.

Others were unimpressed by “crude and shallow nativism”.

Shivambu has not done much to win the regard of journalists, having sworn at them and called them names when he was still in the ANC Youth League. Earlier this year, he physically attacked a journalist outside parliament simply because Adrian de Kock was asking him a question while Shivambu was allegedly in a hurry. The EFF’s chief whip subsequently apologised for the attack.

Momoniat rejected Shivambu’s allegations “with contempt” and quipped that the Gupta family had also tried to get rid of him, without success.

“I will take a lifestyle audit from the day I was born and I would like him to join me in taking a lifestyle audit,” he challenged Shivambu.

Shivambu and others in the EFF, including their leader Julius Malema, however, continued to defend their stance on Momoniat on Twitter.

Shivambu implied that Momoniat was a double agent for a “cabal” during apartheid that “divided” the mass democratic movement.

Malema was also quick to support Shivambu’s stance.

The EFF, in an official statement, said they supported Shivambu’s statements about Momoniat, and added numerous other allegations.

“Momoniat has no regard for black, particularly African leadership in National Treasury and this includes his disrespect of Director General and African Ministers and Deputy Ministers. To him, leadership that deserves respect is only those of Indian, Coloured or White origin. In virtually everything that National Treasury does, Momoniat dictates,” said spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.