(Adds manufacturing survey, analyst, background)
JOHANNESBURG Oct 5 Business confidence in South
Africa fell to its lowest in three decades in September,
reflecting uncertainty about the outlook for Africa's most
industrialised economy, a survey showed on Wednesday.
South African companies are struggling to stay afloat due to
sluggish economic growth since a 2009 recession.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (SACCI)
monthly business index dipped to 90.3 in September from 92.9 in
August, its worst showing since July 1985.
"The general overview of the demand side of the economy
suggests a tight economic situation for all subjects of the
economy, including consumers, investors and the public sector,"
"The most pressing of the present situation is the lack of
confidence by, notably, investors."
Investors have been nervous about Pretoria's commitment to
sound economic policies since Zuma changed finance ministers
twice in less than a week in December, without explanation.
An ongoing police probe into current Finance Minister Pravin
Gordhan has further hurt sentiment.
"Business confidence is unlikely to show any signs of a
recovery until the grave concerns surrounding Finance Minister
Pravin Gordhan are put to bed," said Paul Sirani, chief market
analyst at Xtrade.
"There could still be worse to come with fears rising over a
possible credit downgrade as dark clouds continue to hover over
AngloGold Ashanti's chairman, Sipho Pityana, on
Wednesday became the latest business leader to call on Zuma to
resign, labelling him the "sponsor in chief" of corruption.
A manufacturing survey on Wednesday showed the private
sector returned to growth for the first time in four months in
September but was barely above the 50 mark dividing expansion
(Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Joe Brock)