BizBriefing: SA plunges deeper into junk; Ramos, Manuel on list of taxpayer leeches; ANC discusses Ace

By Melani Nathan 

  • South Africa has fallen deeper into junk territory after Moody’s Investors Service joined Fitch Ratings in lowering the country’s credit ratings on Friday. Moody’s cut the nation’s foreign- and local-currency ratings to Ba2, two levels below investment grade, from Ba1. The outlook remains negative. Fitch cut the nation’s foreign- and local-currency ratings to BB-, three levels below investment grade, from BB, also with a negative outlook. The Democratic Alliance has released a statement saying, The rating agencies’ decision is a clear message to the government saying, essentially, that “reform isn’t happening, and we don’t believe it will – or not at the speed required to make a difference”.
  • Former Absa CEO Maria Ramos and her husband former finance minister Trevor Manuel have been named in an expose of officials and spouses, including apartheid-era politicians, are flying around the country at a cost of millions of rands to the taxpayer, despite this benefit having been removed from the ministerial handbook last year, according to the Sunday Times. Between 2014 and 2020, the taxpayer reportedly forked out R45.3m on business class travel for former ministers, deputies, premiers and their spouses. This includes apartheid-era ministers and those who left the executive in disgrace after enabling state capture. Since the ministerial handbook was revised to exclude this benefit in 2019, parliament has forked out close to R10m on flights for these former ministers and their spouses. Responding to a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) application from the DA, parliament provided a detailed list of 200 former ministers, deputies and their spouses who have clocked travel claims amounting to just under R20m between April 2018 and March 2020. Visit to see the list of implicated officials.
  • The top leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress will meet next week to discuss the fate of one of its top officials who is facing criminal charges, deliberations that could have a major bearing on the party’s internal power dynamics, says Bloomberg. Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary-general and one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s main rivals, appeared in court to face counts of corruption, fraud and money-laundering relating to an audit contract issued while he was premier of the Free State province. Magashule has said he’s innocent and refused to abide by a party resolution that states that all officials facing charges must voluntarily vacate their posts.
  • The regulatory Financial Sector Conduct Authority has published a draft declaration in the process of defining and regulating crypto assets as financial products in South Africa.

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