Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's economic advisor Professor Chris Malikane. File picture: Picture: Phill Magakoe/Independent Media
Cape Town – Professor Chris Malikane's presence during newly-appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's visit this week to the United States is a major red flag to international financial institutions, international investors, and rating agencies in the US, the Democratic Alliance said on Saturday.

Gigaba appeared to have distanced himself from his economic advisor Malikane, "whose mad ideas on the economy had shaken investor confidence", ahead of an international investor roadshow in the US, DA spokesman David Maynier said.

The minister was forced into damage control mode reassuring investors that it was not government policy to nationalise banks and publicly slapped down Malikane "like a schoolboy in a way that suggested his days were numbered".

"However, nothing could be further from the truth because it has now emerged that... Malikane accompanied the minister on the international investor roadshow in the United States.

"This morning [Saturday] the minister’s spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete posted pictures on social media of the minister and his economic advisor engaged in a convivial conversation at the International Monetary Fund in the United States," Maynier said.

Gigaba's “roadshow message” released by the National Treasury included a commitment to “inclusive growth, prudent fiscal discipline, and sound economic policies”.

But Malikane's presence sent exactly the opposite message and would be a major red flag to international financial institutions, international investors, and rating agencies in the US.

"In the end, the fact that the minister invited... Malikane to accompany him on the international roadshow raises serious questions, not only about his judgement but also about whether he can be trusted to act in the best interests of South Africa," Maynier said.