PRETORIA– South Africa’s National Treasury, in a departure from its usual diplomacy, has issued a hard hitting statement against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after the opposition party accused a senior Treasury official of undermining black ministers and officials.

The EFF had also accused Ismail Momoniat, a Deputy Director-General in charge of Tax and Financial Sector Policy, of micro-managing Treasury entities as well as legislative processes.

The National Treasury has come out guns blazing, calling the EFF ignorant of how the department operates. It says there is no official at Treasury who is making decisions over the head of the Director-General or the Finance Minister.

The department said in its statement here Thursday that it was a figment of the EFF’s imagination that Momoniat had usurped the powers of the Minister, the Director-General and other fellow Deputy Directors General.

The National Treasury said the EFF was abusing parliamentary privilege in attacking Treasury staff and that it “treats with utmost contempt EFF claims that Momoniat drives an agenda against black people”.

Meanwhile, the ruling, the African National Congress (ANC) has criticised EFF Chief Whip, Floyd Shivambu, for the manner in which he treated Momoniat during a Parliamentary committee meeting this week, saying Shivambu’s comments are “racist and a narrow nationalist diatribe which must be treated with the utmost contempt.”

Parliament’s Finance Portfolio Committee has also condemned Shivambu’s comments and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has described Shivambu’s comments as racist and politically reckless.

We think that Mr Shivambu needs to find a way of taking forward his struggle and issues with Treasury in a way that is appropriate with Parliament and which is consistent with our Constitution, said Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Director Neeshan Bolton.

In response, the EFF dismissed the claims, saying the message from the party’s deputy president, Shivambu, was distorted. It argued that Shivambu’s utterance was only to question Momonait’s domination of all reports from Treasury. The party says it will not take back what Shivambu said.


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