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Treasury says EFF doesn't grasp how Parliament works after attack on top official

Jun 07 2018 10:21
Fin24

Cape Town - National Treasury on Thursday accused the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of displaying a "gross misunderstanding of parliamentary processes" after the party questioned by what right a top official presented policy to Parliament. 

While it does not usually respond to attacks on staff, it said it was responding the EFF because of its "vitriol and simply the scale of the EFF’s ignorance". 

Treasury also said it "treats with utmost contempt" EFF claims that Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat was driving an anti-black agenda. "This cannot be. Whenever he has appeared in Parliament, or any other public platform, he has articulated National Treasury policies - policies that have also served and [been] approved by Cabinet".

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu on Tuesday, in a committee meeting, accused Momoniat of having a superiority complex which would not allow him to take orders from African seniors.

Momoniat often presents to the Standing Committee on Finance, of which Shivambu is a member. Shivambu questioned why Momoniat was at committee meetings, instead of Treasury’s Director-General Dondo Mogajane.

The EFF backed Shivambu, with its spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi later alleging he had "no regard for black, particularly African leadership." 

"To him, leadership that deserves respect is only those of Indian, Coloured or White origin. In virtually everything that National Treasury does, Momoniat dictates," Ndlozi said in a media statement. 

The right man 

Treasury said Momoniat was the correct person to present policy to the committee. 

"[The] EFF’s attacks on Treasury are based on ignorance of the policy-making function of the National Treasury (the department) and the Ministry of Finance (as the executive authority which has oversight over the department), how the Treasury functions and its relationship with the Ministry of Finance," Treasury said in a media statement. 

"The EFF also displays a gross misunderstanding of parliamentary processes. Furthermore, the EFF has abused parliamentary privilege to throw mud at Treasury staff."

Treasury said the EFF didn't understand how parliamentary processes worked. 

"With respect to Ismail Momoniat, the Treasury official the EFF has singled out in its vitriolic utterances, he has been an employee of the Treasury for over 23 years, having joined in January 1995. 

"During this time, he has served the Treasury and the people of South Africa in various capacities. He currently is the deputy director general (DDG) responsible for Tax and Financial Sector Policy, a position he has held for 13 years. He was previously DDG for Inter-Governmental Financial Relations."

Treasury said it was "patently clear" that Momoniat was the right person to represent Treasury on all tax and financial sector policy related matters.

"It is therefore a figment of the EFF’s imagination that Momoniat has usurped the powers of the Minister, the Director-General and other fellow DDG’s."

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