- Two out of the world’s three top rating agencies downgraded South Africa’s credit to junk status following President Jacob Zuma’s controversial firing of a finance minister
- Charges of economic ignorance and of blatant influence peddling have put the president in jeopardy, even though the ruling National African Congress (NAC) retains a comfortable majority in parliament
- Considering the depth of the crisis and the broad opposition to Mr. Zuma, South Africa faces the prospect of serious escalation – unless the country’s black and white elites rise to the occasion
April 2017 was a gloomy month for the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Fitch Ratings downgraded the country’s securities across the board, to sub-investment grade. The decision followed a similar move by Standard & Poor’s – announced immediately after South African President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet on March 30, prompting the fiercest political crisis in many years. The root of the crisis was a conflict between the two sacked ministers and the politically well-connected owners of a powerful business group, the Gupta brothers.