03/04/2017 21:01 SAST | Updated 04/04/2017 12:46 SAST

Gigaba Said Downgrade Was 'Unlikely' Just Hours Before Junk Status Announcement

It was Murphy's Law

Watch Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's thoughts on rating agencies before he got hit by a downgrade to junk status.

The country's downgrade to junk status on Monday evening was Murphy's Law. When Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba addressed journalists and SARS executives in Pretoria on Monday afternoon, he said he thought an investment ratings grade downgrade was unlikely based on a Cabinet reshuffle.

"There's so much more going in our country for us to believe that changing a single individual can cause a ratings downgrade," said Gigaba.

Hours later, S&P stripped South Africa of its investment grade rating and downgraded the country to junk status. On April 7, Moody's will make its decision, although it holds South Africa two notches above sub-investment grade. Analysts say South Africa's shock Cabinet reshuffle and the axing of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas is likely to prompt the other two ratings agencies too.

The Rand weakened after the S&P decision as pressure grew for President Jacob Zuma's ouster. The governing ANC's national working committee is to meet tomorrow. The escalating political crisis is likely to be high on its agenda.