A team from the Treasury is headed to the United States‚ where officials will address ratings agency Moody’s‚ which has yet to give its verdict on the country’s sovereign debt rating.
Within a week of President Jacob Zuma appointing Malusi Gigaba as finance minister to replace Pravin Gordhan‚ ratings agencies S&P Global and Fitch downgraded the country’s credit rating to junk.
During the same week‚ Moody’s put South Africa’s local and foreign currency ratings on review for a downgrade.
Gigaba said in Pretoria that his team would participate in meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund‚ which will take place in Washington from tomorrow to Sunday.
“We are going to meet, among others, Moody’s to give assurance in terms of the policy direction of government‚” he said.
“We need to have a face-to-face interaction with them.”
Gigaba said there was no guarantee that Moody’s would not downgrade the country’s credit rating.
“We are quite confident that the South African economy is resilient enough, and that we are going to climb back to investment grade‚ so the setbacks we have suffered so far are temporary‚” he said.
Gigaba said the country’s institutions were strong.
He said once a budget was adopted‚ the government stuck to the budget and ensured that every department complied with it.
“We believe that ratings agencies understand that,” Gigaba said.
He said his team would also have an opportunity to interact with some investors on a limited scale as the visit was not a full- blown investor roadshow.
“We think that we should not miss an opportunity to meet investors. We are going to be talking up our country‚” Gigaba said.
Meanwhile, he has distanced himself from an adviser’s controversial personal take on the economy.
“The nationalisation of banks is not government policy‚” the finance ministry said yesterday.
Gigaba’s adviser‚ Professor Chris Malikane‚ wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Times at the weekend that called for the “expropriation of white monopoly capitalist establishments such as banks‚ insurance companies‚ mines and other monopoly industries to industrialise the economy”.