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Gordhan: We're working hard to avert downgrade

Nov 14 2016 13:54
Gareth van Zyl

Johannesburg - Government, business and labour have done “phenomenal” work in trying to prevent a credit ratings downgrade, says finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan, who was speaking at the Discovery Leadership Summit 2016 in Sandton on Monday, was asked about whether he would be the fall guy if South Africa is downgraded to junk status.

In coming weeks, credit ratings agencies such as Moody’s will decide whether or not to downgrade South Africa.

Media personality Redi Thlabi asked Gordhan if he would be the “fall guy” if downgrades to junk had to occur.

“Why should there be a fall guy?” aked Gordhan.

“As South Africa post-December last year we did phenomenal work as team South Africa,” Gordhan said as he referred to a series of international trips to global investors by government, business and labour earlier this year.

“There’s another round of visits right now,” he said.

“So, it’s up to us as South Africans to put our best foot forward.”

Gordhan further said that South Africa's Medium Term Budget Policy Statement late last month was “fiscally sound”.

“This has been a tough balancing act over the last six weeks,” said Gordhan.

Ratings agencies also look at political instability as a key factor for possible downgrades.

But despite an increasingly split in the ruling ANC, Gordhan said that South Africa is not the noisiest country in the world politically.

“Political noise is relative,” said Gordhan.

“If you met someone from Brazil eight weeks ago, they were the noisiest place in the world.

“We’re not necessarily the noisiest place in the world,” said Gordhan.

Gordhan also hinted that the ANC’s local leadership battles must not hurt the country.

The ANC is set to have a leadership race in 2017.

“I would humbly request, keep the contest and national interest in balance,” said Gordhan.

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