Parly finance committee condemns Shivambu over Momoniat outburst

The standing committee on finance in Parliament has condemned Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu for his “crude attack” on treasury director-general Ismail Momoniat during a meeting on Tuesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, ANC MP Yunus Carrim — the chairperson of the committee — released a statement on behalf of the committee following public scrutiny and debate over Shivambu’s comments.

During the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, Shivambu went on a tirade about Momoniat’s continued presence at Parliament meetings, saying he undermines black African senior officials.

“I think he undermines Africans,” Shivambu said according to a report by Business Day.

“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,” Shaivambu reportedly added.

Carrim reacted angrily in the meeting, according to Business Day, defending Momoniat because of his activism during the liberation struggle against apartheid. Momoniat said that he believes Shivambu is attempting to “get rid” of him.

Shivambu has already been referred to Parliament’s ethics committee after video footage emerged of him assaulting a journalist in the Parliament precinct. The standing committee on finance said on Wednesday that it has now also written to the speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete because it believes that Shivambu has violated the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act, which governs the conduct of MPs.

“All MPs, not just Mr Shivambu, should not abuse our right to speak freely in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act. The committee repeats its concern that Members of Parliament can attack any member of the public as being corrupt without that person having the right of a reply within a committee, instead having to going through a torturous petition process via Parliament’s Secretary, which is hardly ever done,” said Carrim.

Shivambu was absent from the committee meeting on Wednesday, but members agreed that his “crude attack” on Momoniat was “unwarranted and inconsistent” with principles of non-racialism and transformation.

Treasury director general Dondo Mogajane rejected Shivambu’s claims on Wednesday morning that black African leaders were being undermined, saying his authority was respected by Momoniat. He told Radio 702 he himself had instructed Momoniat to attend Parliament meetings.

“He understands the authority of my office. I refute that he undermines the authority of my office,” Mogajane told radio host Karima Brown.

Shivambu, meanwhile, has refused to stand down, with the EFF releasing a statement in his defence. 

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Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

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