Zuma denies South Africa is 'falling apart'


President Jacob Zuma sought to dispel the concerns of rating agencies and investors about sluggish growth in South Africa yesterday and insisted the country was not “falling apart”.

In his opening address to a conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to choose its leadership for the next five years, Mr Zuma said two downgrades by international ratings agencies this year did not mean the country was in trouble.

“We want to dismiss the perception that our country is falling apart because of the downgrades,” he said. “We continue to do our development work; we continue to plan for a recovery.”

At the conference in Bloemfontein, Mr Zuma (70) is expected to head off a challenge to his party chief post from deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. Retaining the ANC leadership puts Mr Zuma in pole position to secure a second five-year term as South Africa’s president in the next national election in 2014. Spicing up the contest for top ANC jobs, former mineworkers’ leader and anti-apartheid hero Cyril Ramaphosa, now one of South Africa’s richest men, has agreed to stand for the post of ANC deputy president currently held by Mr Motlanthe.

Mr Zuma called for an end to internal factional fighting and corruption in the ANC, which faces accusations that it has lost its moral compass under the scandal-hit Zuma presidency.

The auditor general reported this year more than 90 percent of municipalities cannot account for all the money they receive and spend.

– (Reuters)