Johannesburg - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has defended his economic adviser Chris Malikane and denied his views would influence government policy.

Gigaba told the standing committee on finance on Tuesday that Malikane’s views would not shape government policy as it was the ANC that drove it.

He said the policy of the government remained unchanged.

Malikane has been advocating for the nationalisation of mines, banks and the South African Reserve Bank.

His views were also supported by the EFF, with its deputy leader Floyd Shivambu calling on the government to implement these policies.

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Gigaba said he had reined in Malikane when he raised his views in public.

However, Malikane’s views remained his own and not government policy, said Gigaba.

“We shouldn’t panic when there is a plurality of views, that there is something going on. Advisers don’t impose their views on their principals. Almost everybody in the National Treasury is an economist and they are good economists. There is not a single individual who can dominate opinion,” he said.

“There are policies that underpin what we do, with the National Development Plan at the heart,” he noted.

There were no views to take up arms to achieve radical economic transformation as suggested by Malikane, said Gigaba.

He also reminded MPs of Malikane’s academic background and that they found it strange to have an adviser discussing his views in public. He said Malikane had now been taken on an induction programme of government.

His deputy, Sifiso Buthelezi, also defended Malikane, saying his views remained his own.

He said they implement government policy. The status of advice remained as such, said Buthelezi. “No policy is cast in stone. We shouldn’t find ourselves in pre-1994, where some ideas were not allowed to be aired,” he said.

He warned MPs not to raise the “rooi gevaar” talk as advocated by some before the 1994 elections.

Buthelezi said both he and Gigaba had made it clear that government policy would not change.

He said they would stick to fiscal consolidation as driven by the former minister of finance because it was government policy.

“We have been clear the minister has been part of the government that voted on this. You can’t as an individual change policy,” said Buthelezi.

David Maynier of the DA warned that Malikane’s views were dangerous and threatened the economy.

He said Gigaba had failed to rein him in as he had promised earlier.

Shivambu said the EFF fully backed Malikane and wondered whether the ANC and National Treasury supported him.

Everything he has said is in line with the policies of the EFF to nationalise mines, banks and the South African Reserve Bank.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE