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SA in an economic death zone - Maynier

May 27 2016 07:35

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma and those loyal to him have made a ratings downgrade more likely by launching an all-out political assault on National Treasury, Democratic Alliance (DA) MP David Maynier told Parliament on Thursday.

Speaking during the session on Building Collective Action for Inclusive Growth, the DA shadow minister of finance said “we are in an economic death zone in South Africa”.

“Economic growth has been revised down to 0.6%; unemployment has been revised up to 8.9 million; and we are hurtling towards a ratings downgrade in South Africa.

“We have a staggering 8.9 million people … who do not have jobs, or have given up looking for jobs…

“And a ratings downgrade will, according to one leading economist, trigger a recession; put 200 000 more jobs at risk; and put 600 000 more dependants at risk in South Africa.”

Maynier said a ratings downgrade will be a disaster for South Africa. “It will affect everybody and spare nobody in South Africa; and that is why all of us - including government and opposition, business and labour - want to avoid a ratings downgrade of South Africa.”  

He praised Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for building a “common narrative” and to bring government, business and labour together so there is “collective action” to avoid a ratings downgrade.

Gordhan derailed

However, he said Gordhan’s efforts have been derailed by Zuma.

He said South Africa can’t blame a ratings downgrade on the economic slowdown in China, collapsing commodity prices or volatile international markets.

“It is not the result of a destabilisation campaign by ‘external forces’, acting in concert with the IMF and the World Bank, to serve the interests of ‘the West’, as the ‘spooks’ would have us believe.

“It is the result of President Jacob Zuma and the ‘rent seekers’ who support him.

“One man, who will stop at nothing to gain control of National Treasury, even if it means making a ratings downgrade more likely in South Africa.”

Gordhan pleads for united SA to help economy

Gordan told Parliament that the weak economy can only be overcome if all role players work together.

“We have no choice but to use our resilience and dig deep to map out a common growth forward, building unity between government, business and labour.”

The finance minister hinted that the feedback from Moody's, despite “recent, disruptive political developments”, testified to the strength of South Africa’s institutions.

He also said two other ratings agencies, Standard & Poor's and Fitch, engaged the ministry this week, and “will provide feedback soon”.

READ: Full story on Gordhan's speech



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