Gordhan calls for focus on economic growth, job creation

Pravin Gordhan says SA must now demonstrate to the world that the country is capable of raising growth.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says South Africa needs to focus on boosting economic growth and creating jobs after avoiding a downgrade to "junk status".

S&P Global affirmed the country's investment grade rating on Friday. It kept its outlook for South Africa unchanged at BBB-minus with a negative outlook.

The minister says South Africa must now demonstrate to the world that the country is capable of raising growth above the 0.6 and 0.7 percent marks and begin to head to the two percent mark.

"We must demonstrate to the world that we are capable of raising growth above the 0.6 and 0.7 percent mark and begin to head to the two percent mark," Gordhan said.

LISTEN: What SA should do now that S&P's didn't downgrade SA.

'THERE NEEDS TO BE A COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMY'

Gordhan paid tribute to the business sector for joining with government to prevent a rating downgrade.

The minister said government is now working to turn the economy around but this must be a collective effort.

LISTEN: Gordhan talks about ratings downgrade being averted.

S&P Global said there have been concerns about political instability but Gordhan said this is normal as the country is approaching an election period.

"We're going towards elections, so I think we must explain to the world, collectively, that in any democracy in the world you're going to get noisy period."

But he said all in government need to realise that there needs to be a collective effort to improve the economy.

"We require all of us to see not only our immediate interests as being important, but national interests as equally important."

In response to the ratings decision, government said in a statement that the rating outcome demonstrates that South Africans can unite, especially during difficult times, to achieve a common mission.