Downgrade means Zuma’s radical economic transformation will be stillborn

2017-04-19 06:02

THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has for some time warned the ANC that President Zuma, with his irrational behaviour, is a danger to society and that his actions will lead to political instability and ultimately ruin our beloved country.

His latest decision to recall the finance­ minister and his deputy - in the dead of night - has all the symptoms of a narcissistic leader, suffering from psychopathic tendencies. This is further evidenced by the fact that certain senior leaders within the ANC’s National Executive Council have openly stated that the far-reaching decision was never discussed by the party’s leadership.

As per the DA’s prediction, Zuma’s absurd behaviour has caused rating agencies to downgrade South Africa’s credit rating to that of junk status.

This will have dire consequences on our economy, the likes of which we have never seen before.

And so, while the ANC and its new finance minister may try to make light of the situation, the cold stark reality is that the poorest of the poor will be the worst hit and that, under the current economic climate, there is very little hope of the country’s nine million unemployed finding jobs.

Quite simply put, a down grade will cause the rand to devalue. It will lead to greater difficulty in raising loans, an increase in interest rates and a definite decline in foreign investment. These impact will cascade right down to grass root level.

Increasing South Africa’s loan repayments will mean less money for service delivery. It will mean no funding for economic development, as all available funding will have to go to ensuring that service delivery departments are kept afloat.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s current debt stands at R2.2 trillion and this debt needs to be repaid. The country’s debt service cost for 2017/18 is R162 billion, a figure that will rise to more than R200 billion over the next three years. The reality is that we will now have to borrow more money to repay our debt.

Just as the DA predicted, Zuma’s much enunciated radical economic transformation will be stillborn. Experience tells us that it will be near impossible to keep South Africa out of a recession as we enter the dangerous territory of a negative growth rate, rather than the ANC’s predicted 1.3 growth rate.

As responsible citizens we must take time for introspection on these latest developments and ask ourselves whether this is the rainbow nation we all envisaged.

We must also ask ourselves whether this is a government committed to redressing the injustices of the past and developing a society of freedom, fairness and opportunity.

If your answer to these questions is ”no” then it is time to bring about change at the ballot box in 2019.

Until then, it is your civic duty to voice your opinion and dissatisfaction. Remaining silent is to be complicit in the destruction of South Africa.

Francois Rodgers, MPL Leader of the Democratic Alliance in the KZN Legislature

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