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President Jacob Zuma recently gave a flippant response to the possible downgrade of the country to junk status by the rating agencies. Responding to a question in Parliament last week, he downplayed the likely effect, contending that many other countries had been downgraded and essentially, it had been no big deal. As it turns out, while the rating agencies have so far not downgraded the country, they are not keen to upgrade it either, raising concerns about SA’s political instability. The president’s dismissive posture contrasts with the messages that have been consistently sent by the ANC and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that all stakeholders should work together to avoid a downgrade, which will inevitably have disastrous consequences, especially for the poor in our country. Our president’s irresponsible comments came hard on the heels of a series of negative events that have been playing out across the country. We are still reeling from the implications of the recently release...

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