(Adds Gigaba quotes, details)
PRETORIA, April 19 South Africa's finance
minister dismissed calls from one of his own advisers for the
nationalisation of banks and mines on Wednesday, and
acknowledged that investors had been unsettled by turmoil
surrounding his ministry.
Malusi Gigaba, appointed in an abrupt resuffle late last
month that shook markets and prompted two ratings downgrades,
told journalists he needed to reassure investors as he prepared
to fly out to an IMF meeting in the United States.
President Jacob Zuma's decision to sack Gigaba's respected
predecessor Pravin Gordhan hammered the rand and triggered
protests by pro-democracy activists and opposition parties.
Uncertainty over the government's fical policy rose again
over the weekend when one of Gigaba's advisers, Chris Malikane,
wrote an opinion piece in South Africa's Sunday Times backing
the nationalisation of mines, banks and insurance firms.
Gigaba said the article by the economics professor at
Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand did not represent
"The technical advice he provides will never detract from
the policies of the (ruling) African National Congress which
don’t entail the wholesale nationalisation of the mines, the
insurance industries and the land," Gigaba told journalists.
“The changes in the national executive announced on the 30th
of March has left some of them (investors) concerned and we need
to give that reassurance in terms of government policy. It was
only changes in the national executive and not changes in
government policy,” he added.
Fitch and S&P Global Ratings both downgraded South Africa to
junk after Gordhan's sacking. Gigaba reiterated on Wednesday
that he would meet Moody's to give the ratings agency assurances
about government policy in a bid to avoid a third downgrade.
Some political figures in the opposition have called for
nationalisation of mines, saying private companies have failed
to spread wealth and control of the economy beyond a small black
elite and the white minority that ran the country under
(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Writing by James
Macharia; Editing by Andrew Heavens)