04/05/2017 12:21 SAST | Updated 04/05/2017 12:21 SAST

Gigaba's Controversial Adviser Chris Malikane Won't Be Fired

Treasury says Malikane is free to raise his radical views on economic transformation, but he has no policy role.

Chris Malikane advocates for the nationalisation of mines.
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Chris Malikane advocates for the nationalisation of mines.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's radical adviser Chris Malikane will not get the chop.

This is according to deputy finance minister Sfiso Buthelezi, who says advisers have no policy role. He added that advisers, in his experience, should be seen and not heard.

In a controversial piece published in the Sunday Times in April, Malikane, who is a professor of economics at Wits University, advocated for the nationalisation of mines, banks and insurance companies.

Buthelezi was a long time ANC MP and previously served as adviser to President Jacob Zuma when he was an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal.

"When I was appointed, people said 'Who's this Buthelezi?" said the deputy to illustrate his view that advisers were low key appointees.

Read -- Ferial Haffajee: Malikane, Arms And The Venezuela Option

A senior Treasury official said separately that Malikane was free to raise his ideas, like those on nationalisation, but that these were subject to rigorous debate in the Treasury.

He said the Treasury set economic policy and it would not be possible for an advisor to change track.

The piece sparked the outrage from the Democratic Alliance and lobby groups who labelled his views "reckless".

Treasury subsequently sent out a statement, distancing itself from the article and reiterating that nationalisation was not government policy. The DA then took aim at Malikane over a speech he delivered at a Black First Land First event shortly after his opinion piece was published.

In his speech, Malikane reportedly explained that achieving radical economic transformation would require a two-thirds majority vote to have the Constitution amended to support a new economic policy.

"We need a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution. Otherwise, to achieve what we want to achieve, we need to go that route [take up arms]. Let's try two-thirds. I don't like war," City Press reported he said.