The matter burst into the open two weeks ago during the Presidency budget vote, when Malema charged that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was "as corrupt as hell" and Shivambu referred to Momoniat as a "corrupt guy in Treasury known as Momo".

Those are pretty serious, still unsubstantiated, accusations against the minister and a senior official in the Treasury. The EFF has made no effort to explain further.

Then, this week, the issue exploded when Shivambu objected to Momoniat's presence at a meeting of parliament's finance committee. He questioned why the Treasury was always represented by Momoniat, saying: "It looks like there are deliberate attempts to undermine African leadership in National Treasury."

Floyd Shivambu is not the archetypal politician. Unlike EFF leader Julius Malema and spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Shivambu does not have charisma or crowd appeal. He is generally unpleasant and does not attempt to hide his contempt for people. He is the last person you would find kissing a baby on the campaign trail or making friendly banter with journalists. If it were his picture on the ballot paper, it is doubtful the EFF would have got half the number of votes it received in 2014 and 2016.Shivambu's role in the EFF is different to those of the other leaders. He has an analytical mind and a fixation with South Africa's economic condition, and is a principal strategist in the party. Once, at a post-budget panel debate I was moderating, Shivambu was representing the EFF before an audience of largely white businessmen. Of all the political representatives on the panel, he dominated the discussion. He had the room gripped with his prescriptions for the economy, even though many people...

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