Controversial advisor to finance minister Malusi Gigaba, Professor Chris Malikane, has warned South Africans to be “prepared for the worst” for radical economic transformation to succeed in South Africa, according to a report by the City Press.
Speaking at a Blacks in Dialogue event in Johannesburg on Saturday evening, Malikane was frank about the reality of radical economic transformation – but doubled down on his support of it, calling for changes to the Constitution and the nationalisation of major sectors of the economy.
Malikane said that a radical economic transformation policy would plunge the country into a crisis, based on what happened in Venezuela, India and Zimbabwe – where similar strategies were introduced – and that people needed to prepare themselves for that eventuality.
“If we are real about transformation, we need to be real and strengthen our people ideologically and politically. We need to organise and educate our people. Did you think to transform is going to be nice?” he asked.
“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,” Malikane said.
Earlier this month the national treasury was forced to put out a number of fires after Malikane published an article advocating, among other things, the nationalisation of banks.
In an opinion piece published in the Sunday Times, Malikane said he was in favour of government taking over the banks, mines and insurance companies.
National Treasury said in an explanatory statement that the views expressed in the opinion piece were not necessarily government policy. “Professor Malikane is within his rights as an academic and an activist to contribute ideas to national discourse on any subject.
“Minister Malusi Gigaba wishes to place on record that the work of the Ministry of Finance will continue to be guided by policies of the ANC, as articulated in conference resolutions and in the 2014 election manifesto.”
The disconnect between the finance minister and his adviser has caused concern amongst financial analysts, opposition parties and civil groups, who have noted that such a drastic difference in policies reflected poorly on a country which was facing extreme economic volatility.