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S Africa: Zuma 'not worried', but investors?

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 02:00

Despite mass opposition rallies, South African President Jacob Zuma responds to demands for him to quit by saying 'he's not stressed'. Investors, though, are far from relaxed about a struggling economy. David Pollard reports.

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He's dancing, but not for joy. Julius Malema just one of the opposition leaders calling for South Africa's president Jacob Zuma to go. As tens of thousands demonstrated on Wednesday. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EFF LEADER, JULIUS MALEMA SAYING: "We are here to defend the future." That future, say his critics, now looks uncertain after Zuma sacked this man: Pravin Gordhan. A finance minister said to have brought stability to an economy where debt's nearly half of GDP, unemployment's close to a record high. His departure shook the rand and markets - and lost South Africa its S&P and Fitch investment ratings. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON, SAYING: "Investors are extremely nervous and concerned about the Zuma government and the unpredictable measures that it's taken." Gordhan's replacement Malusi Gigaba says he'll hold talks with Moody's to prevent a third downgrade. He's also pledged a programme of fiscal and debt discipline. For now, investors apparently ready to give him the benefit of the doubt. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON, SAYING: "They're buying the bonds. They're buying them because they hope that things will get better, they hope there will be a change in the government. The yield is also pretty attractive on South African bonds." Less attractive for the opposition is Zuma staying in power. As the protests mounted on Wednesday, he celebrated his 75th birthday. Telling supporters: 'there's no need to worry'. And even if there is, the veteran president has survived repeated allegations of corruption - and opposition storms - before. One analyst says there's just a one in five chance of him stepping down. With those odds, Zuma one person in South Africa who can dance for joy.

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S Africa: Zuma 'not worried', but investors?

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 02:00