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Gordhan’s hand strengthens after S&P ratings reprieve

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Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan emerged in a stronger position in his tug of war with President  Jacob Zuma after S&P Global Ratings decided not to cut the nation’s credit rating to junk.

“This means that Gordhan will not be going anywhere for the time being, unless he takes a personal decision to go,” said Susan Booysen, a politics professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Governance. “This is another signal that Zuma cannot survive without Gordhan, even though their relationship will continue to be very rocky.”

S&P’s decision came at a time of increasing investor concern over South Africa’s internal policy disputes, heightened by Zuma’s aborted attempt six months ago to name a little-known lawmaker as finance minister. The ratings company said on June 3 that slow growth put the economy at risk and rising political tensions increased the country’s vulnerability of being downgraded to junk. It’s next due to review South Africa’s BBB- rating in December.

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