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Mboweni: S.Africans must roll up their sleeves after Moody’s rating

Moody’s kept South Africa’s sovereign debt at BAA3, the lowest investment grade, but revised its outlook to negative, citing a deterioration in the economic growth outlook and rising debt.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Pictures: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Monday said only South Africans could turn the country’s economic fortunes around following this weekend’s rating decision by Moody’s.

Moody’s kept South Africa’s sovereign debt at BAA3, the lowest investment grade, but revised its outlook to negative, citing a deterioration in the economic growth outlook and rising debt.

The Moody’s rating came just a few days after Mboweni tabled the national Treasury’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.

Last week, Mboweni asked members of Parliament to keep him in their prayers before the Moody’s decision.

While Mboweni hoped for a different outcome, he acknowledged the rating by Moody’s with a “heavy heart”.

In a statement, Mboweni called on South Africans to roll up their sleeves - saying the government, labour, business and civil society needed each other more than ever before.

Treasury said the 2019 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement acknowledged that debt stabilisation would involve difficult decisions that imply short-term costs for the economy and the fiscus.

It said Moody’s expects tax collection performance to improve over the medium term as the South African Revenue Service’s efforts to improve tax compliance yield some results.