Junk status blow may be too much to deal with, warns Nzimande

Blade Nzimande.
Blade Nzimande.

Durban – Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande on Tuesday said that a junk status credit rating could potentially wreak havoc on the lives of workers and the poor unless South Africans work together.

"We know it is not a good thing. The consequences may actually be too big to deal with," Nzimande said in Pietermaritzburg.

He was officiating a graduation ceremony and the launch of the Education, Training and Development Practices Seta at the Umgungundlovu TVET College.

Nzimande, who is also the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, said the expected effects of the rating, particularly on ordinary South African's, were worrying.

READ: Junk status a bruising blow to SA, says Iraj Abedian

"We are worried it will hit the workers and the poor in particular. We can only hope that as South Africans we will work together to try to minimise any negative effects of it."

When asked if the department would be working on a plan to combat the rating downgrade, Nzimande said: "It is a government effort. Each department will have to manage its own situation."

He refused to answer questions on the controversial Cabinet reshuffle. "I won't answer that because I don't think it is an appropriate platform."

Several marches and events, mainly in reaction to President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet change, took place last week with tens of thousands taking to the streets. Another national march is expected to take place on Wednesday.

Last week Standard & Poor's downgraded South Africa's credit rating to junk status. Soon after, Fitch Ratings followed suit.

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