From Opponents To Former Allies, Pressure Mounts Against South Africa's Zuma

Heuer said this in the wake of the rand shedding value following the dramatic sacking of the country's finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, late on Friday night in a cabinet reshuffle by embattled South African president Jacob Zuma.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P's) decision to downgrade South Africa's credit rating to junk status, will adversely affect the cost and availability of capital, economist Iraj Abedian said on Tuesday.

This came days after another key ANC ally, the South African Communist Party, made the same call and indicated it would embark on mass mobilisation to force Zuma out, should he refuse to go.

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".

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) believes that President Zuma is directly responsible.

This after leaders in the ANC and its alliance partners criticised Zuma for axing Gordhan and Mcebisi‚ which they said was based on a dubious intelligence report that accused Gordhan and Mcebisi of plotting with worldwide backers to overthrow the government.

The department said the social media messages are not only tarnishing the image of South Africa, but are also creating an "impression of disorder and fear in communities".

Justifying its reasons for calling on Zuma to step aside, Cosatu said the president has abandoned democratic consultation and transparency.

Meanwhile, the South African rand extended its losses, tumbling 1.5% against the United States dollar after Standard & Poor's slashed South Africa's credit rating into "Junk" status, from BBB- to BB+, with a negative outlook. "We also hold responsible and culpable the President of the Republic Jacob Zuma because it is his inattentive and negligent leadership and disruptive actions that have emboldened these agencies to interfere in this country's political affairs", it said in the statement.

Zuma said more important than ever was that the country unite and work together‚ "especially in light of the current socio-economic challenges we face". His one qualification is his unquestioning support for Mr Zuma who has now completed his task of surrounding himself with a full complement of compliant ministers.

On Monday, the SACP's central committee discussed how it will execute a plan to effectively oust Zuma.

Moody's Investors Service, which rates the nation at two levels above junk with a negative outlook, is scheduled to publish its review on April 7. Zuma has since appointed Malusi Gigaba as the country's new finance minister. The downgrade may further galvanize Zuma's opponents within the ruling party to push for him to step down after unprecedented criticism from other African National Congress leaders. For a no-confidence vote to pass, the opposition would have to secure a simple majority - meaning at least 50 votes from ANC lawmakers.

In an affidavit, DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said the implications of Zuma's decision to fire Gordhan and Jonas were of an "extraordinarily serious and far-reaching nature". "When they act in a manner that makes us think that their reaction is political, I believe they have said what they are saying in anger".

  • Zachary Reyes