CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua)
-- The South African
government remains committed to a measured fiscal
consolidation that stabilizes the rise in public debt,
President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
It is more
important than ever now that South Africans unite as a
country and work together in light of the unrelenting
socioeconomic challenges that they face, Zuma said at
the launch of the Trans-Africa Locomotive project in
Koedoespoort, Gauteng Province.
speaking one day after international rating agency
Standard & Poor (S&P) lowered the long-term foreign
currency sovereign credit rating on South Africa to
‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-‘ and the long-term local currency
rating to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’.
It was the
first time in 17 years that South Africa’s sovereign
credit was downgraded to junk status.
S&P said it
made the decision in light with the cabinet reshuffle
effected by President Jacob Zuma last week.
reshuffle, which saw Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
being sacked, put South Africa’s fiscal and growth
outcomes at risk, the agency said.
downgrade reflects our view that the divisions in the
ANC-led government that have led to changes in the
executive leadership, including the finance minister,
have put policy continuity at risk,” S&P said.
defended the cabinet reshuffle, saying the reshuffle
will add renewed energy into cabinet and the executive
as a whole.
political leadership has changed, the government’s
overall policy orientation remains the same as derived
from the governing party, the African National Congress,
transition in the finance portfolio has taken place,
which shows the maturity of leadership within the
governing party, Zuma said.
and stable National Treasury and finance portfolio as a
whole is absolutely critical for government and the
country,” he said.
Zuma said he
has directed newly-appointed Minister of Finace Malusi
Gigaba and Deputy Finance Minister Sifiso Buthelezi to
immediately prioritize unity, peace, cohesion and
stability within the finance portfolio.
enable all components of the portfolio to focus on the
tasks at hand, said Zuma.
to continue to work with business and labour to take
forward the work of the CEO Initiative which was
established last year to reignite growth, while also
strengthening the Presidential Business Working Group
where the Presidency interacts with all components of
his team will also be reaching out to the international
investor community urgently to assure them that South
Africa remains a stable, reliable and competitive
investment destination, according to Zuma.
South African stocks
close firmer despite S&P downgrade
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- The Johannesburg Stock
Exchange (JSE) was firmer on Tuesday despite S&P Global
Ratings downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to
also expected to downgrade SA’s credit rating following
its statement on Monday that it was placing the
country’s Baa2 rating on review.
share was up 0.39 percent at 52,660.74 points and the
blue-chip top 40 added 0.41 percent. Banks extended
their losses from last Thursday and down by 0.1 percent,
while financials shed 0.04 percent.
firmed 3.98 percent, platinum stocks gained 5.05 percent
and resources gained 1.34 percent.
commodity stocks that have global exposure, Glencore
added 2.06 percent to R53.96 and Anglo American rose
1.46 percent to R207.1. Sasol gained 0.04 percent to
major banks were down, Standard Bank lost 0.68 percent
American Tobacco lost 0.58 percent to R885.82. Sibanye
lost 0.7 percent to R32.79.
miner Anglo American firmed 3.08 percent to R317.95 and
Impala Platinum gained 4.77 percent to R48.5.
Rwandan FM says
relations with South Africa have improved
KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise
Mushikiwabo said Tuesday that the country’s relations
with South Africa have significantly improved.
She made the
remarks while a dressing a news conference about
Rwanda’s diplomatic relations with different countries
across the globe.
ties with South Africa have improved. Our relations are
at a much better place than they were a few years back,”
noted that both countries had moved forward and beyond
some of the tension that had been there since 2010.
South Africa, diplomatic ties severed in 2010 when
Kigali accused the latter country for being a safe haven
for the Rwandan fugitives.
In 2014, the
two countries cut ties as they both expelled diplomats
from either side after a fierce diplomatic row triggered
by accusations that Rwandan security agents were
committing crimes in South Africa.
expelled three Rwandan diplomats and Kigali retaliated
by sending home six South African diplomats. Both
countries, however, maintained ambassadors from either
Mushikiwabo said that, the two countries have since
decided to normalize relations, including engaging in
intra-trade and strengthening diplomatic ties.