Moody's downgrade will not stop fight against coronavirus: Ramaphosa

30 March 2020 - 20:33
By ZINGISA MVUMVU
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday night on the government's progress in fighting the coronavirus - and the recent ratings downgrade.
Image: Reuters President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday night on the government's progress in fighting the coronavirus - and the recent ratings downgrade.

Moody's downgrade of the country's investment status to junk will not dampen the government's attempt to fight the Covid-19 outbreak.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was addressing the nation on Monday night.

Ramaphosa said the country would "prevail" despite the downgrade, because of the public-private partnerships already demonstrated in the fight against the virus.

To this end, he thanked the Motsepe Foundation for contributing R1bn towards the fight against the pandemic, while Naspers has pledged R1.5bn.

Ramaphosa also expressed gratitude to Chinese businessman Jack Ma for donating medical equipment to the country, as well as to the rest of the continent.

"As the country went into lockdown, we received the sad news that the ratings agency Moody's had downgraded South Africa to a sub-investment grade," he said.

"This will significantly increase the cost of borrowing to fund government spending and will have a negative impact on the economy.

"This development will not diminish in any way our response to the coronavirus pandemic. We are pushing ahead to implement the necessary health interventions and economic and social measures to contain the spread of the disease and alleviate its effects on our people within the constraints of the current crisis.

"We remain committed to implementing structural economic reforms to address weak economic growth, constrained public finances and struggling state owned enterprises."

Ramaphosa said the government alone would not succeed in reviving the economy if its social partners were left behind.

"We are working together with our social partners to identify further measures we can take to limit the damage on the economy and to ensure that as we emerge from this pandemic, we set our economy on a clear path of growth," he said.

"Even as our country faces deep and pressing challenges on several fronts, there is no doubt in my mind that we will prevail.

"This is because South Africans have come together like never before to wage this struggle against this virus together. Many businesses and individuals are making financial as well as other contributions."