ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala called on ANC members to be vigilant about the rating agencies. File picture: Leon Lestrade/ANA Pictures
Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has accused credit rating agencies of waging an economic war against the country and President Jacob Zuma.

The party said credit ratings, which recently downgraded South Africa’s credit rating, are the machinery of international monopoly capital working to remove Zuma and the ANC from power.

Delivering an address on Sunday at the close of the party’s three-day provincial general council conference at the University of Zululand in Empangeni, ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala called on ANC members to be vigilant about the rating agencies.

He said the agencies’ mandate was to unleash “unending and uninterrupted battle”. He said such a mandate came from Western monopoly capital, which he said was the handler of the rating agencies.

“An economic warfare has been unleashed against the ANC and its government - hence our economy has been put into junk status by the rating agencies.

“We understand this to be an economic warfare because the decisions to downgrade the economy of our country were taken not on the basis of soundness of our economic policies, but on political considerations after the president exercised his constitutional prerogative to re-constitute the cabinet,” said Zikalala.

The decision of three rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and the Fitch Group, to downgrade the country’s credit rating had been linked to Zuma’s removal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas from the cabinet.

“The enemy does not only want to remove President Zuma, but at the end they want to remove even the ANC. They project him as the main problem.

“You can remove President Zuma today but poverty will still be there. In fact, those who want him removed want to perpetuate the status quo that is prevailing today,” he said.

Taking a veiled swipe at the ANC veterans and ANC alliance partners - Cosatu and SACP - and even supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zikalala said there was a sudden desire “by some in the congress movement to co-operate with the counter-revolution”.

“There are some in the movement who have recorded rapid growth in life either as a result of policies of the democratic government or were deliberately and purposely co-opted by the white monopoly capital so that it appears to be concerned with Africans, while the intention is to serve its agenda.”

He said such “comrades”, because of being sponsored by capitalists, were now denying the existence of white capital monopoly.

He said such “comrades”were even claiming that radical economic transformation, which Zuma is lobbying for, was “a reckless agenda that will upset private capital”.

On the issue of taking land without compensation, Zikalala said the ANC should lobby black political parties in the National Assembly to vote together to amend the constitution so it allows for expropriation without compensation.

“If that fails we can thereafter propose the referendum,” he said.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership has declared its support for former AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the next ANC president.

Zikalala said there was no ANC policy which stated that the deputy president should automatically become the next president.

“As KwaZulu-Natal, we do not subscribe to the notion that the election of a deputy president implies that that comrade is automatically ordained to be a successor to the incumbent (president). If it was so there would be no need for elections,” he said.

There had been proposals that the party’s national conference in December should elect two deputy presidents instead of one as is now the case. However, the province adopted that two secretaries general should be elected, one responsible for monitoring, evaluation and research and another one for organisation building and campaigns.

Economist Dr Iraj Abedian described the ANC’s attack on the rating agencies as unfortunate and based on ignorance.

“Those leaders have no clue of the technicalities of the modern economy,” he said. The rating agencies had previously downgraded British, American and Brazilian economies, and that “has nothing to do with party political issues”, he said

“They (rating agencies) are looking at objective facts The fact is that the South African economy had lost its growth from above 4%, 5% to now zero percent”. Job losses and rising unemployment were the other factors that influenced the decision.

The Mercury