JOHANNESBURG – ZIMBABWE Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, believes the downgrading of South Africa’s credit rating following a cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma was unjustified.
Chinamasa’s South African counterpart, Pravin Gordhan, was the major casualty of the reshuffle done in March.
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgraded South Africa to BB+ (junk status) hot on the heels of the reshuffle.
Fitch Ratings downgraded the country’s unsecured foreign-currency and local-currency bonds to non-investment grade, commonly known also as junk.
Another agency, Moody’s rated South Africa two notches above junk status.
Speaking to reporters in Johannesburg on Friday, Chinamasa found the ratings and the timing “unjustified.”
“Personally, I feel strongly the downgrades were not justified,” the ex-Justice Minister said at the sidelines of an investment conference.
“I do not believe a change of a minister should be a basis for downgrade. Also, as ministers we serve at the pleasure of the president. I do not believe when he takes a decision to reshuffle, it should affect the performance of the economy.”
He added, “I believe South Africa was not treated fairly (by rating agencies). That downgrade affects us because our economies are interlinked.”
Like Zimbabwe has experienced during almost two decades of restrictive measures by against it following some economic reforms, he urged South Africa to endure.
“We learned to live with it. We learned to cope with it.”
– CAJ News