With just over a week before what could be the most competitive general election in SA’s democratic era, big business has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to fight the rising tide of populism in the ANC for the country to avert a damaging ratings downgrade. Business Leadership SA (BLSA) — which represents more than 70 of the country’s biggest companies — bemoaned policy "paralysis" ahead of the May 8 vote. While there has been little movement on key challenges such as the restructuring of Eskom, which received an emergency bail-out in April, elements within the governing party have been making potentially damaging statements about the ownership of the Reserve Bank. The country got a reprieve in March when Moody’s Investors Service, the only major agency with an investment rating on the country’s debt, skipped a scheduled review. A downgrade would have had a harmful effect on local financial markets as it would have meant SA falling out of key bond indices, leading to an outflow ...

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