NEWS & ANALYSIS

Momoniat: Shivambu's comments racist and reckless - Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

Neeshan Balton says it is disturbing that not being an African is singled out by EFF DP and his party

Kathrada Foundation Denounces Racist Comments Levelled against Ismail Momoniat

7 June 2018

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation denounces the profoundly racist, politically reckless and highly inflammatory comments made by EFF parliamentary Chief Whip, Floyd Shivambu, targeting the Treasury Deputy Director-General, Ismail Momoniat.

Shivambu, in a parliamentary Finance Committee meeting, objected to Momoniat’s regular presence at meetings. He reportedly observed that Momoniat is not African, and that he “undermined African leadership”, a view which the EFF has since endorsed.

“It is extremely disturbing that not being an African is singled out as an issue by Shivambu and his party,” said the Kathrada Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton.

“Is Shivambu and the EFF in effect saying that Momoniat’s citizenship is of less value simply because he is not African?” Balton asked.

“Shivambu’s comments leave South Africans believing that there is a concerted effort by the EFF to malign Momoniat personally to deflect National Treasury from taking a tough stance against institutions such as the VBS Bank,” emphasised Balton.

“Since when is it that a single MP can dictate who government should be designating to represent the administration at parliamentary meetings?” asked Balton.

In this case, Treasury Director-General, Dondo Mogajane, has indicated he had to attend another parliamentary meeting at the same time and could not be present along with Momoniat.

Mogajane said that Momoniat was acting on his “direct authority and instructions” and that they had met prior to the meeting to plan Treasury’s approach.

Balton said that while struggle veterans are not above scrutiny or debate over their views and policy decisions, it was “intensely distasteful” that Shivambu went on to try and discredit Momoniat’s contribution since the late 1970s to the anti-apartheid struggle. “Momoniat’s contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle is exemplary and sincere,” he said.

Statement issued by Zaakirah Vadi on behalf of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, 7 June 2018