Do MPs know their responsibilities‚ Duarte on Floyd Shivhambu's 'racism'

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu.
Image: Gallo Images

Treasury deputy director general Ismail Momoniat's contribution to the underground struggle against apartheid helped create a South Africa which affords "the Shivhambus of this world‚ the freedom to express their opinions - albeit from a non-informed position".

So says African National Congress deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte‚ as she lambasted Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu‚ who on Tuesday objected to Momoniat's presence at a finance committee meeting because he was not an African.

The EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi this week defended Shivambu's views‚ tweeting: "No other department demonstrates the greatest lack of confidence in African/Bantu leadership than Treasury. There‚ Africans are treated as permanently incapable of handing finance. They are then placed under direct‚ embarrassing‚ supervision of minority groups. Allow Nene to lead."

The EFF also issued a statement alleging that key departments are led "by minorities".

Nhlanhla Nene is the minister of finance. Dondo Mogajane is the director general of National Treasury‚ a post to which he was appointed last year to succeed former DG Lungisa Fuzile.

"The African National Congress rejects with contempt the unprovoked and uncouth ambush on Comrade Ishmail Momoniat‚" Duarte said in a statement late Wednesday.

"These comments are bordering on extreme racism‚ sow disunity and are an anathema to our agenda of forging a socially cohesive society.

"(Shivhambu's) rant raises significant questions about the level of some Members of Parliament‘s comprehension of their responsibilities‚ to protect and defend the Constitution‚ particularly‚ the assertion that we build a non-racial‚ non-sexist and united Democratic South Africa."

Duarte said she has known Momoniat for over four decades‚ "and whilst I may differ sharply with some of his views on our economy’s developmental state‚ I could never stand aloof and allow him to be asked to leave a meeting because he is an Indian".

"Comrade Momo is not and never will be racist and I say this without fear of contradiction‚ if anything‚ he is known to have been part of the underground struggle which afforded the Shivhambus of this world‚ the freedom to express their opinions albeit from a non-informed position. Momo is well known for showering every person with accolades or disdain in equal measure‚ irrespective of colour‚ class or creed."

The ANC‚ she said‚ rejects Shivhambu’s racist and narrow nationalist diatribe with the deepest contempt it deserves.

A wide range of people within civil society have also spoken out against the EFF MP's conduct.

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