Yunus Carrim. Picture: SUPPLIED
Yunus Carrim. Picture: SUPPLIED

EFF deputy president and chief whip Floyd Shivambu, who created a storm on Tuesday when he objected to the presence of Treasury official Ismail Momoniat in Parliament’s finance committee on grounds of his race, was unrepentant on Thursday and turned his gun on committee chairman Yunus Carrim, implying a conspiracy between the two.

In a letter he sent to Carrim on Wednesday, Shivambu demanded that Carrim urgently and “truthfully” respond to his questions as to whether he has any relationship with Momoniat beyond his position as committee chairman; whether he has travelled with Momoniat on any government visit to the World Bank or the IMF; and if so what his role was, who invited him, who paid for the visit and whether the visit was paid for by Momoniat or the Treasury.

Carrim, who is known for his zany sense of humour, responded in a mock serious way to Shivambu’s “absurd letter” and “silly” questions. “The sub-text of your letter and what I hear from others you’ve said over radio is to suggest that I’m in some sort of pally-pally, subordination-of-the-parliamentary-committee-sellout-relationship with Mr Momoniat, maybe in cahoots with his... (what??) ... corruption? And the subtext is that my positions on your behaviour towards him are based on some sort of “Indian South African Brotherhood” (let’s leave out the sisters for now!)…,” Carrim said.

“I have no personal relationship with Mr Ismail Momoniat! Like many, many others we were involved in the struggle together, but he lives in Johannesburg and I in Pietermaritzburg. Our paths hardly crossed except in meetings occasionally. And no, he’s not a personal buddy of mine, although I know him overall to be a very decent, nice person. I can’t recall ever interacting with him socially or outside a work relationship, except once.”

Carrim clarified that he served on the board of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank. His attendance at its meetings had been reported to the committee and approved by Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete.

“No, I have never ever travelled on ANY domestic or international flight with Mr Momoniat,” Carrim wrote. “Did I meet, let alone plot corruption, with Mr Momoniat while in Washington ever? Actually, I only met him once since attending these meetings since 2015 and exchanged a few words about the committee’s programme.

“Oh, and by the way, I bumped into the Reserve Bank governor, Lesetja Kganyago, as he came out of the lift in a building and shook his hands — but no, we didn’t collude on anything either.”

Earlier in the day the finance committee reaffirmed its statement on Shivambu’s behaviour towards Momoniat at Tuesday’s meeting.

The statement said Shivambu had questioned Momoniat’s presence at the committee meeting on racial grounds. The committee, after deliberations, added to the statement that it had noted that Shivambu alleged that Momoniat was undermining African leadership.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za