Tag: zuma

After almost 10 hours of legal arguments, the Constitutional Court reserved judgment on the United Democratic Movement’s application to direct National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to hold a secret ballot on a motion of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma. The matter boiled down to Mbete’s discretion to allow a secret ballot. Advocates representing opposition parties argued the secret ballot was required in this matter, while Mbete and Zuma’s advocates conceded it was permissible. As fascinating as the legal arguments were, this case is about politics. Therefore, the courts can only go so far in dealing with South Africa’s big political dilemma: the disastrous Zuma presidency.

Throughout the day, the judges of the Constitutional Court asked counsel for the various parties before them about the basis on which the court should be involved and why the secret ballot was necessary. The judges were clearly concerned and mindful of the separation of powers doctrine and the question of judicial overreach. The only thing the court could do, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said, was look at the law and interpret it.

At the end of the day’s arguments, Justice Mogoeng thanked the advocates for their “enlightenment”. “You have no idea how challenging it was to conceptualise the issues,” he said.

Apart from the judges being cautious of another matter relating to Zuma, particularly as his supporters in KwaZulu-Natal were staging a protest against judicial overreach, they also wanted to be careful not to encroach on the functions of Parliament or prescribe to the Speaker how to act.

While the drafters of the Constitution spelt out that the president should be elected by secret ballot, they did not stipulate as much in the section on the removal of the president through a motion of no confidence. Mbete refused the UDM’s request for a motion of no confidence through secret ballot. She stated in a letter to the UDM’s attorney that she had no authority in law or through the rules of Parliament to grant this.

Lawyers initially fumbled on the question of why the court should intervene and what the National Assembly rules allowed for. Dali Mpofu, representing the UDM, said MPs were entitled to vote according to conscience and should be protected because of the risks they could face if they did so. He said the separation of powers was not at issue and there needed to be an interpretation of the instruments for holding the president accountable.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, arguing on behalf of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said the motion of no confidence could not take place effectively unless it was conducted through a secret ballot.

“The most practical way of holding the executive accountable is a secret ballot,” Ngcukaitobi said. He said the Constitutional Court must only deal with current motion and not secret ballots in Parliament generally.

But the advocate for the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Anton Katz, said every motion of no confidence should be decided by secret ballot in principle. He said IFP MPs had consistently requested that motions be decided by secret ballot and were denied this.

Maruma Moerane, representing the Speaker, said the National Assembly had considered and decided against a secret ballot. He said the Constitution left the determination of voting procedures to the National Assembly.

“If it wanted a secret ballot, it would say so,” Moerane said. Mbete was not prepared to make an assumption that people would vote differently in open vote and in a secret ballot, he said.

But Moerane conceded eventually that Mbete had the discretion to allow a secret ballot, through the reading of section 103 and 104 of the rules of the National Assembly.

While Mbete did not oppose the application, Zuma did.

Ishmael Semenya, representing Zuma, argued that if there were any risks against MPs, this should be referred to Parliament’s rules committee together with the evidence so that that the rules could be amended. He said for the UDM application for a secret ballot to succeed, the Constitutional Court had to determine that the executive could not be held to account through an open vote.

It was interesting that the ANC did not participate in the case, although their MPs were the subject of the discussion, particularly the intimidation and possible risks facing them. Mpofu said that the risk to MPs was more than the daunting prospect of challenging the president. He said because ministers and deputy ministers also had to resign if a motion of no confidence was passed, it was not just the president that MPs were voting against but up to 70 of their colleagues.

While the judges’ line of questioning eventually led the senior counsel to come to some consensus that the secret ballot was permissible and the Speaker had the discretion to allow it, the matter remains complex. This is yet another matter before the courts where the President of the Republic is a respondent. The issues in this case are not about whether he is a fit and proper leader but it is difficult to see the arguments outside the context of Zuma being a disastrous president who has dragged the country to the brink.

If the Constitutional Court could hear arguments from lay people, in this case the opposition party leaders, the rationale for the secret ballot would be very different. It would be about the track record of Mbete in bulldozing the opposition, the frustrations they face in Parliament by being stonewalled through the ANC’s majority, and how Zuma has made a mockery of the accountability mechanisms. If this was the court of political opinion, they could argue why the motion of no confidence against the president needed to succeed.

But the case is not about Zuma or the merits of the motion of no confidence. It is only about the law, the rules of the National Assembly and the interpretation of these with regard to the secret ballot.

There is also another factor in this case. While there might be ANC MPs willing to vote according to conscience, the majority of the caucus will not do so – even though they might be opposed to Zuma’s continued leadership of the country and the ANC. Some of them might be influenced by the party line, as pronounced by the ANC national working committee. But others would want the ANC to decide on their leader’s future, not the opposition to drive the process.

But is the ANC capable of acting against Zuma? The party will have to answer that question at the end of this month when the national executive committee meets. If the party fails to deal with Zuma’s appalling leadership and fails to hold him to account for his Cabinet reshuffle, it might make it easier for ANC MPs to vote according to conscience.

For now, the question is how the judges of the Constitutional Court will continue to protect and defend the rule of law through their interpretation of the application for a secret ballot. If Monday’s riveting arguments are anything to go by, the answers are pretty obvious regarding the Speaker’s discretion.

But the Constitutional Court has surprised us in the past with their astute interventions in this period of turmoil. Perhaps they will do so again.

By Ranjeni Munusamy for Daily Maverick

The divisions in the tripartite alliance over the ANC’s succession battle played out at Cosatu’s nationwide May Day rallies with President Jacob Zuma and his “allies” booed while his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa was cheered and welcomed.

Ramaphosa was once again endorsed as the preferred candidate to take over from Zuma.

Zuma, African National Congress national chairperson Baleka Mbete and deputy-general secretary Jessie Duarte faced a torrid time in front of the labour federation members.

Zuma faced the worst embarrassment since ascending to ANC presidency in 2007 when unrelenting Cosatu members heckled and chanted anti-Zuma songs in his presence.

This forced the federation to prematurely end its main Worker’s Day celebrations in Bloemfontein. In an unprecedented move all speeches were cancelled and the event abandoned.

‘Gupta’ chants

In Durban, Mbete tried to put up a brave face and continued with her speech despite repeated boos from the crowd who gestured for her to leave the stage.

They chanted “Gupta” and despite attempts by SACP second deputy-general secretary Solly Mapaila and local leaders to calm the crowd. Responding to the rejection Mbete claimed that national ANC leadership expected the hostile treatment.

“We anticipated this as leadership. We met a week ago and discussed it. But we were ready to come and conduct ourselves in terms of our role as leadership,” she told News24.

Duarte didn’t have a good day at the office either with the crowd barring her from addressing them. Gathered in Polokwane in Limpopo, Duarte was booed by hundreds of Cosatu members when she was introduced to speak.

She told News24 afterward: “This is about supporting a candidate, the ANC has not decided on candidate yet, none of us has preferences. We have not taken a decision yet.”

This was in sharp contrast to Ramaphosa, who was again affirmed as next ANC president at the rallies that went ahead. Cosatu leaders who spoke said they will work the ground to ensure he was elected as the next ANC president.

Ramaphosa delivered his speech in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga during a heavy downpour with Cosatu members rooted in the rain listening to his entire speech.

Cosatu’s first deputy president James Tyotyo said government would not need to build him a home-an indirect jab to government spending R250m to upgrade Zuma’s private Nkandla home.

“He will not steal government money. Government will not build him a house because he already has his own house. As Cosatu we want to repeat it today, we say the president [Zuma] must step down because on daily basis he commits blunders. His blunders will make us lose the elections in 2019,” said Tyotyo.

Ramaphosa for president

At the Gauteng Cosatu rally general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said they will campaign to ensure Ramaphosa takes over the ANC presidency.

“We as the workers want Cyril Ramaphosa to be president, we will elect him in December,” Ntshalintshali said.

Political analyst Susan Booysen said the events were a “watershed moment for the ANC and the Zuma faction within the ANC in particular as they were rejected by a key constituency of the ANC”.

“We didn’t see an outright rejection of the ANC, we saw people like Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed in Mpumalanga and that was in contrast to Zuma, Mbete and Duarte – they met a groundswell of angry rejection and it was not white, it was not middle class. This was rejection from the heartland of the ANC,” Booysen said.

Booysen’s view was echoed by Professor Somadoda Fikeni: “This collapses the view that people who do not support the president are either middle class, monopoly capital or racists. It shows that you have a cross-section of people for a variety of reasons who are unhappy,” Fikeni said.

Cosatu was at the forefront of ensuring that Zuma was elected president in 2007 at the Polokwane elective conference and pushed for Mbeki’s recall the following year.

However, they now want Zuma to go after he reshuffled his cabinet without consulting them. They have also not scored any major policy changes under Zuma’s administration including their call for e-tolls to be scrapped, labour brokers to be banned and radical changes in the economy.

Booysen said while it was early days in the succession battle, the Worker’s Day events were a major setback for ANC NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign for the ANC top spot.

Tactics

She is backed by Zuma and his allies-the ANC Youth League and Women’s League.

“Things can always turn again, but today from groundswell of anti-Zuma reaction there was in part succession battle being decided. It may turn again, but today’s indication it was devastating setback for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Zuma,” Booysen said.

Fikeni said the anti-Zuma group were using the same tactics applied by Zuma supporters.

The ANC Youth League recently booed and disrupted speeches by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and Mapaila’s address during a Chris Hani memorial.

“Remember for some time it’s been well organised, pro-president booing down opponents; other side has now taken the same tactic, to show displeasure. It may then degenerate into no-go areas; you choose areas assured of supporters, or may lead to disruption of June or December conference,” Fikeni said.

The ANC earlier blamed alliance leaders for “prematurely speaking on leadership preferences” for the chaos that led to Zuma being prevented to speak.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the incident should not be allowed to happen again.

“This is precisely the reason why we have cautioned Cosatu and other alliance structures including our leagues against premature announcements in public because they have an impact and bearing on our efforts to foster unity,” Kodwa said.

Source: News24

 

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the gloves off in the contest to become the nation’s next leader, delivering a scathing speech criticising “the rot” and widespread patronage plaguing the ruling African National Congress.

Ramaphosa stopped short of openly declaring his candidacy to succeed President Jacob Zuma, 75, in a speech on Sunday, but his address left no doubt that his campaign is now firmly under way. He made several thinly veiled attacks on Zuma, who’s indicated that he’s backing his former wife and mother of four of his children, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for the top post.

Dlamini-Zuma, who’s spent the past few weeks traversing the country drumming up support while guarded by the presidential protection unit, took an early edge in the race to succeed Zuma as ANC leader in December while Ramaphosa had run a subdued campaign, said Ralph Mathekga, an analyst at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, a Johannesburg-based research group.

“It’s becoming clear that he wants the position of party president,” Mathekga said. “He’s become more decisive and could inflict damage to the campaign of Zuma’s preferred candidate.”

A lawyer who co-founded the National Union of Mineworkers, Ramaphosa, 64, helped negotiate a peaceful end to apartheid and draft South Africa’s first democratic constitution. He lost out to Thabo Mbeki in the contest to succeed Nelson Mandela as president in 1999 and went into business, securing control of the McDonald’s franchise in South Africa and amassing a fortune before returning to full-time politics in 2012 as the ANC’s deputy leader.

Gordhan’s firing

Appointed as the nation’s deputy president in 2014, Ramaphosa has spent much of his tenure defending the ANC and government in the face of a series of scandals implicating Zuma. He publicly disagreed with his boss for the first time this month after Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, prompting S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings to downgrade the country’s credit rating to junk.

In his speech delivered at a memorial service for the late South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Ramaphosa backed a recommendation by the former graft ombudsman that a judicial commission investigate if members of the Gupta family, who are friends with the president and are in business with his son, unduly benefited from state contracts and tried to influence Cabinet appointments. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

“The allegations that there are private individuals who exercise undue influence over state appointments and procurement decisions should be a matter of grave concern to the movement,” Ramaphosa said. “These practices threaten the integrity of the state, undermine our economic progress and diminish our ability to change the lives of the poor.”

Mcebisi Jonas, the former deputy finance minister who alleged that the Guptas offered him a promotion in exchange for preferential treatment, also spoke at the memorial service.

‘Pretend rules’

ANC rules discourage members from openly lobbying for leadership posts, and say they should await nomination from its branches before declaring their availability. Several senior party leaders have called for the regulations to be changed.

“We know those are ‘pretend rules’ and nobody actually plays by them,” said Susan Booysen, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Governance. “The rules are there to protect the incumbent and their chosen successor.”

The ANC has won more than 60% of the vote in every national election since it took power in the first multiracial one in 1994, placing its next leader in pole position to become the nation’s next president in 2019 when Zuma is due to step down. The party will hold its internal elections at a December 16-20 conference in Johannesburg.

Anger, disappointment

“Ramaphosa realises that this is the moment to come out because there is general support for him and it comes in the context of anger and disappointment and people wondering why on earth he has not come out to declare his candidacy,” Booysen said.

Ronnie Mamoepa, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, said he couldn’t comment on party matters.

Dlamini-Zuma, 68, had an early edge in the succession battle, according to 11 of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg on February 13 and 14, while 10 put Ramaphosa ahead, and five said the contest was too early to select a front-runner.

Ramaphosa still faces major obstacles in his bid for the ANC’s top job. While he’s received the support of the main labour federation, Dlamini-Zuma has the public backing of the ANC’s Women’s League and part of the party youth league, and can expect the endorsement of three premiers of three rural provinces known as the “premier league” who are allied with Zuma.

Marikana killings

There was a public uproar in 2012 when Ramaphosa made a failed R19.5m bid for a buffalo cow and calf at a game auction, a move opposition parties said was scandalous given the country’s enduring poverty.

The killing of 34 protesters by police at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in 2012 following days of violent strike action also dented Ramaphosa’s image. While he called the labour action “dastardly criminal” in an email a day before the shooting and urged police to take “concomitant action”, a commission of inquiry cleared him of wrongdoing. A company he led had a stake in the mine.

Under Zuma, the ANC suffered its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid in municipal elections in August, losing control of Pretoria, the capital, and the economic hub of Johannesburg.

While Ramaphosa still needs to build his support base, the fact that he’s made it clear he’s in the race should bolster his chances, according to Mathekga.

“People can see he is a real option,” he said.

By Amogelang Mbatha and Mike Cohen for www.fin24.co.za

Several opposition parties have called for a new date for the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, which is due to be debated next Tuesday.

The UDM wrote to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete following a directive from the Constitutional Court on Tuesday regarding the UDM’s call for MPs to be able to vote via secret ballot.

The court granted the UDM access to argue the matter and allowed parties involved to file opposing papers. They had until Friday, April 21 at 16:00 to do so.

The UDM subsequently wrote to Mbete to propose that the motion be pushed to the week of April 25 to allow the respondents time to file their papers.

“An agreement between the parties should also entail this aspect,” the UDM said through its lawyers.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Mbete had received the letter and would respond accordingly.

Parliament said it had received the court’s directives and would comply with the timeframes.

He said the court made no injunction regarding the motion of no confidence. It was still scheduled to take place in the National Assembly at 14:00 next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Parliament said earlier on Tuesday that Mbete was not opposed to the principle of a secret ballot on such motions.

Mbete held no position on the matter, it said in a statement.

“Where the Speaker and the UDM disagree is in relation to the powers of the Speaker under the Constitution to make such a determination.”

The Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday also asked Mbete to postpone the motion of no confidence until after the Constitutional Court hears the matter.

The court’s decision to hear whether the vote could be done via secret ballot warranted a postponement from its current April 18 date, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

In a separate letter, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said the Constitutional Court case could have a direct bearing on the nature and outcome of the motion.

Maimane added while Parliament waits a bit longer to debate Zuma’s fate, South Africans should join opposition parties as it marches to the Union buildings on Wednesday on Zuma’s 75th birthday.

By Thulani Gqirana and Paul Herman for News24

While it is well documented that junk status has a number of dire consequences for both South Africa, and its people, more important is to consider how long the country can expect to be stuck with a junk rating say Lullu Krugel and Christie Viljoen, economists at KPMG.

On Monday, ratings agency S&P Global lowered South Africa’s sovereign debt to below investment grade, with Fitch and Moody’s likely to follow.

Hours after S&P announced that it would be downgrading South Africa to junk status, Moody’s confirmed that it would also be placing the country on review for downgrade, though the group has now delayed its report for at least 30 days as it assesses the country.

Economists have warned that the downgrade to junk is likely to trigger a recession as its effects spread to the wider economy.

“The downgrade greatly complicates the prospects for South Africa being able to stage an economic recovery. Without a growth recovery, employment growth and revenue collection will stagnate and may even decline,” said CEO of the South African Institute of Race Relations, Frans Cronje.

Research by KPMG into the sovereign ratings assigned by the three largest rating agencies – S&P, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service – over the past three decades indicates that 15 countries have seen their investment-grade ratings revoked but were then able – over time – to regain this status.

These countries include Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Iceland, India (twice), Indonesia, Ireland, Korea Republic, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay.

Of these countries, Krugel and Viljoen noted that the rating downgrades were broadly grouped into four categories:

Economic deterioration (Colombia, Hungary, India, Latvia and Romania);
Unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances (India, Slovakia and Slovenia);
A domestic currency, financial or banking crisis (Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay); and
A currency, financial or banking crisis resulting directly from neighbouring or regional influences (Indonesia and the Korea Republic).
“These countries’ diverse experiences show that it takes, on average, seven years to again graduate to the investment-grade club.”

The economists said that countries like Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, Korea Republic, Latvia and Slovenia were able to do so in three years or less. At the opposite end of the spectrum, and depending on which rating agency was involved, there were instances where it took Colombia, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Uruguay more than a decade.

Strategies used to return to investment-grade

In addition to an analysis of why countries had historically been downgraded to junk, Krugel and Viljoen also released a report detailing how these countries typically managed to return to an investment-grade rating.

“Strategies and narratives on countries that recovered their investment-grade ratings are broadly grouped into six categories,” noted the duo.

These include:

Fiscal consolidation and/or austerity (Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia);
Significant economic and political reforms (Colombia, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Uruguay);
Declining external and fiscal vulnerabilities (India and Thailand);
Debt restructuring and economic policy reform (Korea Republic);
Privatisation of the sovereign’s holdings in private/semi-state companies (Croatia); and
Active intervention by a newly elected government (Iceland and Slovakia).

South Africa
South Africa is most closely associated with the countries experiencing economic deterioration and, possibly, those having unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances, said Krugel and Viljoen.

“On the issue of how South Africa will be able to return to its former investment-grade rating, the key element in a recovery process is that admission that a problem exists and that work is needed to rectify this,” Krugel and Viljoen said.

However the economists noted that following the downgrade announcement by S&P, the National Treasury appeared far from concerned with the development

“The commitment to fiscal consolidation was reiterated, coupled with a rebuttal that South Africa is committed to a predictable and consistent policy framework and that open debate on policy matters should not be a cause for concern.”

Zuma breaks the rand – again

The rand was weaker on Tuesday afternoon as it emerged that President Jacob Zuma had told senior leaders of the South African Communist Party (SACP) that he planned to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

When the market learnt on Monday that Zuma had recalled Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, from an investor trip to the UK and US, the rand nosedived from 20-month highs it scaled last week.

The president is reported to have told senior leaders of the South African Communist Party that he plans to dismiss the finance minister.

After hitting a fresh 20-month best level of R12.31 against the dollar in Monday’s opening trade‚ the rand plunged more than 3%, or 52c, to an intraday worst level of R12.8295/$ in the afternoon.

The rand also weakened against global majors and went from being the best-performing emerging-market currency to one of the worst-performing currencies.

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) analyst John Cairns said further runs on the rand were possible but Monday’s rand losses were nothing compared with what happened in the worst-case Cabinet reshuffle scenario when former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was replaced in 2015. At that time, the rand shed 150c immediately and 250c within a month.

Cairns said the best rand scenario for the day was for the rand to stabilise above R12.50/$ within a 30-cent range, the worst case scenario would be a Cabinet reshuffle.

At 11.30am the rand was at R12.9766 to the dollar from a previous close of R12.7616. It was at R14.0954 to the euro from R13.8647 and at R16.3203 to the pound from R16.0221.

The euro was at $1.0859 from $1.0864.

By Reitumetse Pitso for www.businessday.co.za

 

President Jacob Zuma has accepted the recommendation of no salary increases for the national executive, members of Parliament (MPs), provincial executives, mayors, and other top public office bearers.

The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers in November recommended that top officials, including Zuma, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, ministers and deputy ministers get no increase “as a patriotic sacrifice”.

Also expected to make the “sacrifice” are MPs, all members of provincial executives and legislatures, all judges, mayors, whips, some members of royalty, as well as the deputy chairperson of the provincial house of traditional leaders.

This means the president’s salary will remain at just under R2.9m, while the deputy president and the speaker will continue to earn R2.7m.

Ministers will continue to earn just over R2-million a year.

Municipal councillors would get an increase of 4%. Magistrates and full-time members of the National House of Traditional Leaders would get 6%.

“President Jacob Zuma has accepted the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers recommendations for the adjustment of public office bearers’ annual remuneration for the 2016/2017 financial year,” the Presidency said on Tuesday.

In November, the commission’s deputy chairperson, Matshego Ramagaga, said a number of factors were taken into consideration when making the decision.

These included the responsibilities of the office bearers, affordability and inflation.

The salary freeze could save up to R100m, the commission said at the time.

By Thulani Gqirana for News24

Junk status no big deal: Zuma

President Jacob Zuma says that South Africans highly politicise the rating agencies, making them out to be a bigger issue than other countries.

Zuma was responding to questions from MPs in Parliament on last Wednesday.

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) will release their credit ratings reviews on 25 November and 2 December respectively, while Fitch is expected to follow suite in the near future, although no calendar dates have been provided yet.

President Zuma said that the government has worked very hard to grow the economy under very difficult conditions of ‘global meltdown’.

He said that the government has worked with the agencies who grade the country.

“What is funny here, is that South Africans highly politicise the rating agencies”. He suggested that when other countries are downgraded it is hardly ever spoken about.

He cited countries including France, Russia, Turkey, the UK, Brazil, China and the US as countries who have been downgraded over the past five years.

“You have never heard, but in South Africa, even if they have not arrived, its a big issue. We are politicising downgrading – that is our problem,” Zuma said.

He said that agencies have been to South Africa and they will take their decision, as they have been taking their decisions to all other countries.

“The point I am making,” Zuma said, “is that we here tend to politicise things and therefore create a very big hype when this is not an issue to other people.”

He said to the house that many would probably be hearing for the first time that other countries are in junk status. “It was not a big issue,” he said.

“Reviews by rating agencies are important for the country, they form part of many monitoring mechanisms that encourage us to improve governance in both the public and private sector,” Zuma said earlier in the session.

Asked by the DA’s David Maynier, what his views are that a credit rating agency be set up which would be more sympathetic to the needs of Brics nations, Zuma said “there’s nothing wrong with that”.

“There are views and there are views on the economy,” Zuma said. “There’s not one view. Western countries or whatever part of the world – they all have assumptions. [The] Brics (countries) look at the world in a particular way and do their own approach to ratings.”

Current rating

Moody’s investment grade of South Africa is at Baa2 for local and foreign currencies with a negative outlook. The rating is two notches above sub-investment (also referred to as junk) grade.

S&P has South Africa’s credit rating assigned as BBB+ (local currency) and BBB- (foreign currency) – one level above junk status with a negative outlook.

Fitch rates South Africa at BBB (local currency) and BBB- (foreign currency) – also one notch above sub-investment grade, but with a stable outlook.

Source: www.businesstech.co.za

The Gupta family, owners of Oakbay Investments and friends of President Jacob Zuma, have been subjected to “cruel and harsh” treatment from the media in the country, contributing to the decision to sell their local businesses, the company’s chief executive officer said.

There has been tangible interest from a potential international buyer for the assets, Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

“There’s never a right time to sell a business, but we’ve had some interest from some international parties,” Howa said. “We’d be crazy to close our eyes just to one party, so we will consider other offers as well.”

The family made the surprise announcement on August 27 that it will exit all its interests in South Africa by the end of the year. Zuma, who has described the Guptas as friends while denying that they wield political influence, is facing a public backlash over a police investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Oakbay Investments owns 80% of Oakbay Resources & Energy, a gold and coal mining company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Other businesses include closely held Sahara Computers, a heavy-equipment supplier, a safari lodge, a television news channel and a national newspaper.

By Guy Johnson for News24

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