'I am being vilified over my views' - Malikane | Fin24

'I am being vilified over my views' - Malikane

May 01 2017 10:52
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Professor Chris Malikane said his character is being publicly attacked over the views he holds on radical economic transformation.

This follows calls from the Democratic Alliance (DA) to have Malikane fired as adviser to new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

The DA took aim at Malikane over a speech he delivered at the Blacks in Dialogue event organised by the Black First Land First movement on Saturday. In his speech, Malikane explained that achieving radical economic transformation would require a two-thirds majority vote to have the Constitution amended to support a new economic policy.

He added that if this is not possible, then citizens may have to go another route which is to “take up arms”, City Press reported.

DA MP David Maynier lashed out, calling it “complete madness” for the finance minister’s adviser to suggest this. “These are exactly the kind of reckless statements that undermine investor confidence and discourage private sector investment, which is desperately needed to boost economic growth and create jobs in South Africa,” said Maynier.

When Fin24 contacted Malikane he refused to speak to the media, saying that he was viewed as a “mad person”. “I am being called mad, yet I am a professor at Wits, writing articles for international journals. I am called crazy and mad, mentally demented.” 

The calls to have Malikane fired over his views on radical economic transformation show that South Africans are not ready to have debates, said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

Mathekga told Fin24 that Malikane’s entire speech should not be reduced to a call for a civil war. “We should debate ideas as South Africans. There is nothing wrong in debating and engaging with each other.”

He said that the DA could not call for someone to be fired over a disagreement on views. “Malikane is an adviser, not a policymaker. The policymaker must explain to the nation how they want to relate to his ideals, it’s simple.”

Mathekga said that he has known Malikane for several years and his views on radical economic transformation have been consistent. “He has always maintained these views. He has always been consistent.”

Promoting public debate

Previously Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi said there is no difference between radical economic transformation and inclusive growth. However Mathekga explained that inclusive growth is the final outcome, and radical economic transformation is the proposal of how to achieve  that.

READ: Sfiso Buthelezi: The word radical may scare, but it's same as inclusive growth

“People should debate how you get there. Do you radically transform the economy. and what does it actually mean to radically transform the economy?”

Mathekga explained that the tension associated with radical economic transformation is because it is viewed within an “atmosphere of suspicion”.

“We must keep talking until we remove the clutter,” he said. 

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