Picture: Phill Magakoe
Johannesburg – The African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) said it "is disappointed, but not surprised by hasty the decision" taken by Standard and Poor's Global to downgrade South Africa to "junk status".

In a statement issued by Meokgo Matuba, ANCWL secretary general, the league said it has been on record as questioning S&P's objectivity.

"MD of S&P, Konrad Reuss, when speaking in panel during discussions on the outlook for Africa, at the Deloitte Africa 2017 Outlook Conference, allegedly indicated that, amongst other factors that will impact on SA institutional assessment by S&P, will be [a] Cabinet reshuffle," said the ANCWL.

"The corrupt S&P that was fined around R26 billion over the top grades it gave to subprime-mortgage bonds, has been earnestly waiting to deliver a junk status to SA if the President reshuffles the cabinet," it alleges.

On Monday, S&P Global downgraded South Africa's sovereign credit rating to junk status, following the axing of finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The ANCWL said South Africa "must not be held at ransom" by ratings agencies that are serving a certain political agenda.

Read also: Rand slides on S&P credit rating cut

"S&P is not an apolitical institution and has interests on who has to be a Cabinet member. The ANCWL reiterates that S&P as an institution undermines the Constitutional right of the State President to appoint his Cabinet and make changes when he deems necessary."

The ANCWL said it was calling on the ANC-led government to persuade its BRICS partners (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to speedily establish the BRICS rating agency.

"Corrupt rating agencies like S&P should not be allowed in the country," the ANCWL said.