Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly-elected deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC), on Friday morning urged rating agencies to carefully study the policies of the ruling party before downgrading South Africa.
“The ANC has the best policies you can think of and it would be advisable for the agencies to study them carefully before making any move in the country’s ratings,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa was speaking at a breakfast meeting held in Mangaung where the ANC held its 53rd elective conference.
Mangaung is a more African name for Bloemfontein, the capital of Free State, one of the provinces of South Africa. Mangaung means the place of Cheetahs.
“If the rating agencies can carefully go through the National Development Plan (NDP), I think they can also be forced to even upgrade South Africa.”
The NDP is the government’s blueprint aimed at eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.
Ramphosa also revealed for the first time that the idea of the NDP was President Jacob Zuma’s brainchild.
“He asked us to have our own economic blueprint,” he said.
This could surprise many critics who believe that Zuma is an incompetent and corrupt president whose only concern is his four wives and more than 20 children.
That he initiated the NDP also shows that he is also concerned about the well-being of others in the country.
Rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor this year downgraded South Africa’s credit rating socio-political and economic development in the country.
And it is understood that the rating agencies are likely to continue sitting on the fence in terms of their assessment of South Africa after policy pronouncements at the elective conference of the African National Congress (ANC) in Mangaung.
ANC officials said the controversial issue of nationalisation had been scrapped in favour of “strategic state ownership”, while more taxes would be imposed on the mining sector to ensure the government’s developmental aims would be met.
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) would wait to see what follow-through action the government takes before revisiting the October downgrade of the country’s sovereign rating, said Southern Africa MD Konrad Reuss this week.