The ruling party has called on South Africans to work with government to help strengthen the economy after the Fitch ratings agency revised the country’s outlook from stable to negative.
“The ANC calls on all South Africans to work with us and the ANC government to grow this economy for the benefit of all South Africans,” party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement on Sunday.
“We are pleased by the fact that even Fitch is convinced that South Africa has the capacity to reduce the risk of crisis … ” The ANC said it also noted the decision by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to lower South Africa’s long-term foreign currency credit rating one notch, to BBB- from BBB.
“Both rating agencies are concerned about the platinum strike, weak domestic and external demand which led to GDP [gross domestic product] contraction in the first quarter of 2014,” said Kodwa.
“It also feared that is likely to depress second-quarter growth.”
The ANC believed this was premature. “In our view, it is premature for any pronouncement at this stage on the likely performance of the government that has just taken office,” said Kodwa.
“We … tasked the ANC government to accelerate provision of public infrastructure to crowd-in private sector investment through activities that utilises infrastructure in mining, manufacturing, agriculture and productive services.
“Electricity was given special status. We acknowledged that funding electricity generation from Eskom alone will be insufficient, accordingly, we will encourage private sector participation in the build programme including large institutional investors such as the retirement fund industry.”
On the question of growth, he said the ANC would accelerate the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), which would be chaired by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The process of translating the NDP into detailed programmes and projects by assigning state organs specific responsibilities for which they will be held accountable at the highest level is far advanced,” said Kodwa.
“The necessary reforms to unlock the potential of the South African economy to grow at rates that would accelerate the reduction of unemployment, poverty and inequality are set to be implemented with higher vigour and determination.” – Sapa