Remove Zuma immediately, says OUTA after S&P downgrade

Cape Town – The ANC should take every step possible to ensure President Jacob Zuma is stripped of his role as leader of the country, said OUTA (Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse) in a statement, following S&P Global Ratings decision late on Monday to cut South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to junk status.

S&P said in a statement the economic crises that is expected to follow Zuma’s overnight cabinet reshuffle on March 31 was too serious to wait until June 2 for the next scheduled review of South Africa’s sovereign rating. 

It added that the reshuffle posed a risk to fiscal policy.

OUTA said the ANC should act with haste to recall Zuma. “We cannot allow this situation to continue and the ruling party will have to look toward themselves and their inability to take this issue seriously,” said Wayne Duvenage, OUTA chairperson.

“We believe that if the authorities act swiftly, South Africa may be able to have the rest of the ratings agencies to stay their decision for a downgrade, and eventually get S&P to reverse their decision.”

Dennis George, General Secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said the downgrade was blamed on the executive changes initiated by Zuma on Marc 31.

“The negative outlook reflects the view that there is at least one in three probability that budgetary performance, debt levels, and economic growth will deteriorate beyond our current baseline expectations,” George said. 

In its response to the downgrade, the Treasury said this rating announcement calls for South Africans to reflect on the need to sustain and act with urgency to accelerate inclusive growth and development so that we can reverse the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

"Reducing reliance on foreign savings to fund investment and relying less on debt to finance public expenditure will secure South Africa’s fiscal sovereignty and economic independence."

The Treasury said the government remains committed to making sure that its work with business, labour and the civil society continues in order to improve the business confidence and implement structural reforms to accelerate inclusive economic growth.

READ: Treasury's full statement

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