by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
This evening’s decision by Standard and Poors Global Ratings Services (“Standard & Poors”) to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to “junk status” is a clear vote of no confidence in President Zuma, and a direct result of his decision to fire Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas last week.
President Zuma should resign immediately to allow a new administration to stabilise our economy, and to stanch this growing crisis.
Standard & Poors’ decision comes just days after President Zuma reshuffled his cabinet – sending shudders of uncertainty and volatility through our economy. International ratings agencies have long warned this government that our status is on a knife edge. Zuma has clearly learnt nothing from the market reaction to his firing of then Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015.
Instead of acting in the best interests of the country and its people, Zuma chose to act in his own best interests by firing Gordhan and Jonas. The negative effects of this downgrade – which is likely not to be the last – will be felt by all South Africans. This downgrade will result in higher government borrowing costs, less money for basic services, and less job creating investment.
Zuma is on a path of destruction, and must be stopped. If he does not surrender to the will of the people and resign, then Parliament must remove him by supporting our Motion of No Confidence which will come before Parliament in the coming weeks.