South Africa: Ratings Agencies and the Second Coming – for Change to Happen, We Have to Sink to the Bottom

The Treasury can no longer explain just how bad the situation is. The politicians, on the other hand, cannot hear the strained voices of the number crunchers and policy crafters. The falcon cannot hear the falconer, WB Yeats would say in The Second Coming. Maybe things need to fall apart, and fall apart seriously, for anything to change.

The metaphor is dead. So is its cousin, the cliché. We can no longer refer to the “Asian Tigers” as an example of developmental economics prowess. That would send the mind straight into the gutter. And Eskom is no longer the “elephant in the room”. All that colourful expression is gone. We are left with just pitiful, dry words. Straight up and down dryspeak. That is because the economy is in trouble, and the National Treasury has run out of ways to state this. It has been a decade of decline.

In 2009, Moody’s ranked us as investment grade: So did Fitch and S&P Global.

Today, Moody’s is warning us that our days as the elite investment grade class are numbered. In short, if nothing changes real quick, “the axe will fall”.

We are in this situation because the politicians do not…


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