Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa File photo: ANA

Polokwane - Government is doing everything it can to avert a further downgrade by rating agencies, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday night.

South Africa’s struggling economy could attract more investors, particularly in the marine sector, by unlocking investment doors for investors and averting a further downgrade by rating agencies, he told guests at an African National Congress gala dinner in Polokwane.

South Africa had been included among those countries facing a possible further downgrade by rating agencies after Brazil’s recent downgrade to “junk status”.

Ramaphosa said government was putting greater effort into boosting the economy.

The Operation Phakisa and black industrialists’ programs were part of the arsenal to fight economy decline and attract investors.

The ambitious economic development programs were launched year ago to promote opportunities that could accelerate job creation and grow the economy.

“We are expanding investment sectors, such as automobile, textile and manufacturing, and we are also coming with this tool we call Operation Phakisa,” said Ramaphosa.

Operation Phakisa was intended to open potential in the marine sector. “It is proving to be a worthy process, and we have already seen it with the oceans economy,” he said.

“This has become a tool that we are using as government to unlock opportunities for investment, job creation, and development programmes.”

Ramaphosa assured the business community that government was doing everything possible to ensure the country was not further downgraded and to grow the economy.

This despite the World Bank’s projection that South Africa’s economy would not grow much this year.

“Brazil has been put under junk status; we are doing everything we can to make sure that we don’t fall into junk status,” said Ramaphosa.

Brazil is part of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) grouping.

Ramaphosa said the World Bank’s revised economic growth forecast for South Africa should not deflect aspirations to grow the economy.

“The World Bank has revised the projection for our growth this year and they have revised it downwards, but we are determined to prove that we work very hard together with the business sector and labour formations to make sure that we uphold our economy.

“We must make sure that we don’t continue slipping down, and we believe that we will be able achieve this,” Ramaphosa said.