Despite all woes cried by economists over SA downgrade into junk status this week, members of Zuma’s inner caucus still believe the junk status the country finds itself in is nothing to worry about, and in fact the best thing that could happen to the country so far.
Two others who seemingly mocked the state of the nation’s economy were the state’s water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and a member of the so-called Black Empowerment Foundation who both echoed Edward by cheering the SA downgrade that economists says would affect the nation’s economic development.
They displayed a great measure of economic ignorance when they both said on a WhatsApp group chat that “It’s actually better Western investors will pull back and we have an opportunity to bring them back in our own terms, after we have consolidated our relations with Africa and Brics. We must rearrange our foreign debt repayments.”
The so-called member of the Black Empowerment Foundation actually agreed to this claim, saying that the rand should fall and “rise and emerge with the masses.”
These comments by these Zuma allies comes at the time the country is said to have lost about R80 billion in banking stocks alone in less than one week as the rand continued to fall in the international market.
The comments also come at the time the country is engaged in serious political chaos where opposition parties with numerous other South Africans stage a strong march against President Jacob Zuma following his latest cabinet reshuffle which tampered with the nation’s treasury.
While Zuma emerged victorious yet again, after a meeting of the ANC’s extended national working committee, which many had hoped, in vain, would censure him, the economy will be the biggest loser as economists worry that the SA downgrade will affect poor nationals more as the cost of borrowing rises and a faltering rand plays havoc with the cost of imported goods, especially fuel.
In the chat group which was administered by Edward Zuma, the controversial cabinet reshuffle was extensively discussed with Edward that the SA downgrade call for celebrations.
“Am going to celebrate this grading decision tonight long overdue hence mama action they must go hang labantu [these people] really now,” Sunday Times reported Edward as saying.
“It’s actually better Western investors will pull back and we have an opportunity to bring them back in our own terms, after we have consolidated our relations with Africa and Brics.”
After the ratings announcement on Monday, he reportedly said: “Brics is the only way out of this hell on earth. They did us a favour really.”
Other prominent politicians in the chat group include the new Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, former SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala, former South African Chamber of Business CEO Kevin Wakeford, Zuma’s daughter, Thuthukile, KwaZulu-Natal MECs Mthandeni Dlungwane and Bongi Sithole-Mlaba.
Further more, the group chat had Edward, Ellen Tshabalala, rejoicing over Gordhan’s axing as Edward, who appeared to had know several hours beforehand that Gordhan would be axed said “That one is definitely going Rand or not he is out.”
He was followed by Tshabalala who excitedly said after Gordhaná axing, that he deserved it because he had caused “some of us real agony”.
“Every dog has its day! He mobilized against me. Akahambe kahle! [Let him go well],” she wrote.
On Friday, Fitch joined the S&P to downgrade South Africa to junk status blaming its decision to do so on the growing political crisis coupled with the reshuffle which it said has weakened standards of governance and public finances.
Attention is now focused on the ratings decision from Moody’s, which is due in June but could come out of the cycle like those of the other agencies.
Opposition parties are however planning to keep up the pressure with a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday, and further mass marches are being planned to coincide with a parliamentary motion of no confidence on April 18.