Had Malusi Gigaba been appointed finance minister today, rather than three weeks ago, it seems unlikely he’d have hired Wits University economics professor Chris Malikane as one of his advisers.
Gigaba seems to have undergone a Damascene moment following the downgrade to junk status. Whereas, initially after his appointment, Gigaba spoke boldly of "radical economic transformation", now his language is of "inclusive growth".
But Malikane won’t be swayed.
In an article in the Sunday Times, he argued for nationalising SA’s banks and mines, argued that quality social services must be free, suggested empowerment schemes are largely a "bribes system", and said only white monopoly capital and the "credit-based black bourgeoisie" objected to Pravin Gordhan’s axing.
Malikane’s "solutions" are a hodgepodge of old Marxist ideology and, tellingly, he doesn’t say how his alternative economy would work practically or how it would be financed.
It’s little wonder that on Tuesday Gigaba’s office rushed to say Malikane’s views did not represent government policy, that Gigaba "will continue to be guided by the policies of the ANC", and that "nationalisation of banks is not government policy".
It was a blunt slap for a government adviser. Mercifully, it seems Malikane’s 15 minutes of fame may already be up.