Gigaba: I won’t resign over junk rating

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has revealed that S&P Global took him into its confidence before announcing Monday night’s downgrade.

FILE: Newly appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - While President Jacob Zuma has called for calm after the country was downgraded to junk status, the Finance Minister has revealed he knew in advance that S&P Global would be taking the decision.

Newly installed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has revealed that S&P Global took him into its confidence before announcing Monday night’s downgrade.

The announcement was made just hours after Gigaba downplayed fears around whether the ratings agencies would cut the country to junk.

Moody’s then followed suit by announcing just a few hours later that it too has put the country on review for downgrade.

Gigaba says he won’t resign over the junk rating and he doesn't take it personally.

JUNK STATUS

Gigaba already knew that South Africa was going to be downgraded to junk status on Friday.

He’s made the revelation just a day after saying in a televised briefing that changing an individual shouldn’t have an impact on the country’s rating.

Gigaba explains why he didn’t prepare the country for the downgrade.

“The reason I didn’t take you into my confidence with regards to the S&P decision is because they’d also taken me into their confidence.”

Gigaba says he cannot go into what was said between his team and the other two rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, but in general terms it involved his appointment and policy.

He says while the downgrade is a setback for the country, he believes that now is not the time to be despondent.

"Certain Minister Gordhan does not want us to be looking backwards, and keep on dragging his name into the challenges that we are facing because there is indeed so much more going on in our country and economy at the present moment."

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)