CAPE TOWN South
Africa(Xinhua) -- The South African
government will do what it can to avoid a further downgrade,
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.
steps must be taken to prevent international rating agency
Moody’s from downgrading South Africa’s credit rating, Gigaba
said in Cape Town after a meeting with local investors.
Gigaba assured investors of policy certainty in different
policy programs, including the mining and telecommunications
He pledged that the government would take immediate action to
improve the financial performance and governance of state-owned
Gigaba said he is planning to meet with the Moody’s to ensure
the agency that South Africa is willing to continue on the
course of fiscal discipline and reducing the country’s debt.
"We will do all we can to avoid another downgrade and one of
the ways to do that is to engage with Moody’s directly," he
Moody’s has put South Africa on review for a possible
downgrade after Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgraded the
country’s rating to junk status respectively on April 3 and
The downgrades followed a drastic cabinet reshuffle by
President Jacob Zuma on March 31. The reshuffle saw the sacking
of well-respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a move that
rattled the nerves of investors. Gigaba, former minister of home
affairs with less financial experiences, replaced Gordhan.
A third downgrade by Moody’s is expected to raise the
possibility for a recession.
"For us, in order to fend off a downgrade by Moody’s, there
are urgent steps that we need to undertake in the form of
providing clarity in the different policy programs," Gigaba said
South African parliament
postpones Zuma no-confidence vote
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African Parliament Speaker
Baleka Mbete has decided to postpone debate and vote on the
motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, Parliament said
The decision followed a request by the opposition Democratic
Alliance (DA), under whose leader the motion was tabled, for
postponing the motion pending conclusion of the Constitutional
Court application by the United Democratic Movement (UDM),
Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
The motion was originally scheduled for April 18, as
requested by DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
But the UDM approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on
Monday, asking for an order to have voting on the motion of no
confidence conducted through a secret ballot.
The ConCourt on Tuesday granted the UDM access to argue its
application for a secret ballot when a motion of no confidence
in Zuma is conducted.
Under the court ruling, other involving parties can file
opposing papers until April 21.
Following the court order, several opposition parties have
called for the postponement of the debate.
The UDM said a new date should be set for April 25 so as to
allow the respondents time to file their papers.
While agreeing to the postponement, Mbete did not say when
the debate would be conducted, according to Mothapo.
The postponement of the motion will be referred to the
National Assembly Programme Committee for its consideration
after the constituency period, Mothapo said.
"The Programme Committee will be requested to reflect on the
implications of the postponement of the motion of no confidence
on the programme of the House, especially in light of Rule 90
(rule of anticipation)," the spokesperson said.
In terms of Rule 90, postponed motions remain on the
programming system of the Assembly, thereby blocking any MP from
tabling a similar motion until the one that has been tabled is
debated and voted on.
The DA submitted the motion in the hope of toppling Zuma, who
has been criticized for reshuffling the cabinet on March 31,
with the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and nine
The move has prompted international rating agencies Standard
& Poor’s and Fitch to downgrade SA’s credit rating to junk
Opposition parties believe that a secret ballot would allow
MPs of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to vote in
favor of the motion.
The ANC has rejected calls by opposition parties for a secret
The party has said its MPs must vote according to the party
Some ANC MPs reportedly voiced fear that they would be
disciplined or removed if they vote in support of the motion.
For a vote of no confidence motion to be successful, it
requires 201 of the 400 National Assembly MPs to vote in favor.
If the motion is successful, then the president, his deputy,
cabinet ministers and all their deputies must resign as provided
for in section 102 of the Constitution.
In 2016, Zuma survived two no confidence motions in
Parliament that is dominated by ANC MPs.
Bus strike continues,
stranding thousands of commuters in South Africa
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
A nationwide bus strike continued on Thursday,
frustrating thousands of commuters who are stranded on the eve
of the Easter holiday.
Thousands of bus drivers have gone on strike to protest
against the dehumanizing conditions faced by employees in the
bus passenger sector.
The services of Golden Arrow and MyCiti in Cape Town, Rea
Vaya in Johannesburg, Gautrain buses and Putco in Gauteng
Province, as well as some long-distance bus services have all
been suspended because of the strike action.
In Cape Town alone, 220,000 Golden Arrow passengers were
affected, according to the company.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA),
which organized the strike, vowed on Thursday to continue the
strike indefinitely until its demand for a 12-percent wage
increases is met.
The union has rejected the latest wage offer of 7.5 percent
increase by employers in the bus passenger sector.
Talks with employers broken down on Wednesday, leaving the
striking workers with no choice but to continue their strike
action, NUMSA acting national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said.
"We were hoping that the employer would engage meaningfully
with our demands and put a fair offer on the table, but that
wasn’t the case," he said.
It is clear that the employers do not care about resolving
the strike, neither do they care about the welfare of the
workers, or the public at large, Hlubi said.
"We call on all workers to unite behind this just cause for
equality and dignity. We will not return to work until the
employer starts to treat our members like human beings, instead
of slave labor," said Hlubi.
Easter is one of the most important holidays in South Africa.
From Friday to Monday, thousands of pilgrims and holiday makers
will be travelling to attend church service and travelling to
different holiday destinations.
South Africa government
says no to unregulated trade in rhino horns
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
A Constitutional Court order setting
aside the moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horns does not
mean unregulated trade in rhino horns, Minister of Environmental
Affairs Edna Molewa said on Thursday.
"Whilst we are studying the implications of the order handed
down by the Constitutional Court, it should be noted that the
court’s decision should not be construed to mean that the
domestic trade in rhino horn may take place in an unregulated
fashion," Molewa said.
She was speaking after the Constitutional Court on Wednesday
dismissed an application by Molewa to overturn a 2015 order by
the High Court in Pretoria to set aside a moratorium on domestic
trade in rhino horns with immediate and retrospective effect.
Since the moratorium came into effect, the Department of
Environmental Affairs has strengthened its laws, regulations and
systems to ensure no regulatory loopholes exist with regards to
the possession of rhino horns as well as a possible future
domestic trade in rhino horns.
The Constitutional Court judgment does not mean that persons
are allowed to trade (including selling, donating, or in any way
acquiring or disposing of rhino horns) without a permit issued
by the relevant provincial conservation department, Molewa said.
In the absence of the moratorium, it must be emphasized that
all domestic trade in rhino horns will be subjected to the
issuance of the relevant permits, Molewa said.
"It must be furthermore emphasized that this matter does not
relate to the international trade in rhino horn for commercial
purposes. Commercial international trade in rhino horn is still
prohibited in terms of the provisions of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES)," said Molewa.
In South Africa, home to about 90 percent of the world’s
rhino population, 1,175 rhinos were poached in 2015.
The government introduced the moratorium on rhino horn trade
to curb rhino poaching.
But private ranchers say that the moratorium has failed to
stop the scourge, and therefore should be lifted.
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