Cape Town – The DA, IFP and UDM called on President Jacob Zuma to immediately resign, following Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to sub-investment grade late on Monday.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement the ratings agency’s decision is a clear vote of no confidence in Zuma and a “direct result” of his decision to remove former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas in the early hours of Friday morning.
“President Zuma should resign immediately to allow a new administration to stabilise our economy, and to stanch this growing crisis,” Maimane said.
“S&P’s decision comes just days after 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.”
Maimane added that 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.”
Mkhuleko Hlengwa, IFP spokesperson on finance, said Zuma “actively pursued” a downgrade “against all advice and warnings”.
“Last week with his rogue cabinet reshuffle he put in the final nail into our economic coffin.”
Hlengwa also called on Zuma to resign.
“The so-called reshuffle was nothing but a pure political purge with its sight set on capturing National Treasury to loot the public purse; and the consequences for South Africa is a hard-hitting downgrade to junk status.”
He added that Zuma is not “fit for purpose”.
“We can ill-afford continuing with this rogue man masquerading as President. This downgrade was actively engineered by Mr Zuma because of his hard-headed attitude and arrogant approach to rational thought about what is good for South Africa.”
The economy is "bleeding", said Hlengwa.
“The poorest of the poor will bear the brutal brunt of this downgrade which could have and should have been avoided.”
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Zuma’s Cabinet change caused “radical economic transformation” of a different kind.
"Zuma bandies this phrase about, making a sweeping statement, without any clear policy detailing what his radical economic transformation entails. This not only confuses South Africans, but any international would-be investors are surely looking elsewhere to spend their money."
He said the ANC has lost control of Zuma, and be default the country, jeopardising any hope of a prosperous economic future.
"We might as well use the term 'junk status' to describe our government."
Holomisa said his party will exert even more pressure to have National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete accede to a call for a special, and urgent, meeting of the House to discuss a motion of no confidence in Zuma.