Govt policies won't change midstream - minister

Cape Town – Government policies are guided by the ANC’s policy framework and will never change midstream, unless the people of South Africa are affected, said Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo on Thursday. 

Responding to questions after a media briefing following the previous Cabinet meeting, Dlodlo emphasised that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has no intention of deviating from the policies followed by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. 

“Minister Gigaba and government are trying their best to allay those fears (of policy changes),” Dlodlo said. 

At the Cabinet meeting Gigaba told his fellow ministers about the upcoming visits by three rating agencies in May and June and August and September, respectively. 

Dlodlo said Gigaba has in the past couple of weeks “tried his best” to allay the fears of investors and rating agencies alike and clear up “misgivings” about imminent policy changes. 

READ: Gigaba assures banks of policy stability - BASA

In the first week of April, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to sub-investment grade – also called junk status – on account of President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle on March 31, which saw the removal of among others Gordhan as finance minister and Mcebisi Jonas as his deputy. 

S&P and Fitch also cited policy uncertainty amid the changing of the guard at National Treasury as reasons for the decision. Moody’s – which has South Africa two notches above sub-investment grade - is expected to announce its ratings decision in the coming weeks. 

READ: Moody's may downgrade SA in coming weeks - economist 

Dlodlo on Thursday pointed out that Zuma has said government should refrain from “behaviour and pronouncements” that could create conflicting policy messages. 

Although she didn’t elaborate on the matter, Zuma may have referred to utterances by people such as Chris Malikane, Gigaba’s special adviser, who has said on a number of platforms that banks, insurance companies and the mines should be nationalised. 

Gigaba this week told Members of Parliament during a sitting of the standing committee on finance that he remains the finance minister and that he is not speaking with a “forked tongue”, and that his advisers don’t impose their views on National Treasury. 

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