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S.African markets feel strain of S&P downgrade

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 01:27

South Africa's new finance minister seeks to reassure the public and investors following a ratings downgrade by S&P. But, as Sara Hemrajani reports, the markets continue to tumble and union members are now calling for President Zuma to resign.

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A tough first week on the job. South Africa's new finance minister isn't receiving a warm welcome from investors. His sudden appointment spooked the markets. And now S&P has cut the country's credit rating to junk, sending the rand and shares plummeting again. Soundbite: Simon French, Chief Economist, Panmure Gordon, saying (English): "Political leadership in South Africa, particularly in the finance and economics ministry, is very much an unknown factor for international investors. I think what you need is somebody to take the reins who is known to the markets, has the credibility in order to restore confidence, both in the currency and in South African debt." Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle forced out previous finance minister Pravin Gordhan. He was seen as a safe pair of hands - and had been sacked and reinstated once before. On Tuesday, Gordhan's successor - Malusi Gigaba - sought to restore some calm. Soundbite: Malusi Gigaba, South African Minister of Finance, saying (English): "We have many strengths that we can leverage to grow our economy inclusively. We will act decisively as government in collaboration with all economic and social partners." But that statement has done little to reassure workers. South Africa's biggest trade union is now calling on President Zuma to quit, saying he's no longer the "right person" to lead the country.

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S.African markets feel strain of S&P downgrade

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 01:27