EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu is being criticised widely for a racial attack on Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat — but this is not the first time the party's chief whip has come under fire for racist remarks — or acts of violence.
Business Day reported that during a heated exchange on Tuesday in Parliament's finance committee meeting, Shivambu objected to a Momoniat's repeated appearances on behalf of Treasury, on the grounds that he is "not an African".
EWN reported that Shivambu alleges his comments were not racist.
"I spoke about him undermining African leadership, and that's a fact," Shivambu reportedly claimed. "It's emphatically a fact that will never be withdrawn."
This is not the first time Shivambu has found himself in hot water over similar remarks.
- In 2010, in his capacity as then-ANC Youth League spokesperson, Shivambu was hauled to court on hate-speech charges after an SMS exchange between himself and journalist Carien du Plessis. In the SMS he wrote: "You must learn to respect people. I don't comment on ANCYL issues and please stop being stupid... I wouldn't want to earn respect from white bitches... so dream on."
- In 2011, Shivambu reportedly swore at a Media24 investigative journalist Jacques Dommisse, who had called him to arrange an interview with then-league president, Julius Malema. Shivambu repeatedly said "F**k you" to Dommisse and told him to "F**k off".
- In 2013, the High Court in Johanneburg ordered Shivambu to apologise for unsubstantiated allegations he made against Saturday Star news editor Kashiefa Ajam, claiming that she was a "drunkard". The remark was made in 2010, after Ajam wrote an article claiming there were links between the youth league and alcohol brands.
In 2012, Shivambu was suspended from the ANC for three years after contravening the ANC's constitution — his comments made to journalists were among the contraventions.
Earlier this year, Shivambu was caught on camera with his hand around the throat of Netwerk24 journalist, Adrian de Kock. The incident took place within the parliamentary precinct in Cape Town, when De Kock approached Shivambu for comment and snapped pictures of the MP.
The EFF labelled the assault a "scuffle", and Shivambu apologised.