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Max du Preez

Zuma 'a danger to SA's economic stability'
2016-05-17 08:00

Max du Preez
The single most serious clear and present danger to South Africa’s short-term economic and political stability has a name: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.
There can be little doubt left now that Zuma has decided to fight to the bitter end rather than retire quietly after the coming local election or early next year, as senior ANC leadership elements (and much of the rest of South Africa) had hoped.
We should prepare ourselves for the possibility that Zuma will employ a scorched earth policy; we should face the fact that it isn’t beyond him to want to pull the pillars of the state down on all of us like a Biblical Samson.
The rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch arrive in South Africa this week to reassess their ratings of the South African economy. They are watching the dynamics between finance minister Pravin Gordhan and Zuma closely. If Gordhan isn’t given the political space to execute his budget promises, a downgrade to junk status is inevitable.
There was huge relief all round last week when other rating agency, Moody’s, stuck to their rating, just adding a negative outlook. Moody’s has left no doubt that Gordhan’s budget and his behaviour since then were key to its decision.
And just as Fitch and Standard & Poor’s were about to arrive, the Sunday Times reported that the Hawks were threatening to arrest Gordhan and charge him with espionage, a charge related to an investigations unit at SARS formed when Gordhan was its commissioner.
Fear and loathing
This threat of the arrest of a Cabinet minister isn’t new; Hawks officials also threatened to arrest Gordhan in February. The charge then, as now, is completely bogus.
The presidency can deny as much as it wants, there is an established pattern of the Hawks and state security operatives leaking such…...

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