The National Treasury has moved from its usual diplomacy, responding with a hard hitting statement against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). This is after the party accused a senior Treasury official of undermining black ministers and officials.
The EFF also accused Ismail Momoniat, a Deputy Director General, of micro-managing Treasury entities as well as legislative processes.
National Treasury has come out guns blazing, calling the EFF ignorant of how the department operates. It says there is no official making decisions over the head of the Director General or the Finance Minister.
The department says it is a figment of the EFF’s imagination that Momoniat has usurped the powers of the Minister, Director General and other fellow Deputy Director Generals.
In a statement, National Treasury says the red berets are abusing parliamentary privilege in attacking Treasury staff.
The Finance Ministry says it treats with utmost contempt EFF claims that Momoniat drives an agenda against black people.
Meanwhile, the ANC has criticised EFF Chief Whip, Floyd Shivambu, for the manner in which he treated Momoniat during a committee meeting this week.
The ruling party says his 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. 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,” says Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Neeshan Bolton.
In its response, the EFF has dismissed the claims saying the message from the party’s deputy president was distorted. It argues that Floyd 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.