BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa Dec 16 South Africa
is not "falling apart" and the ruling African National Congress
(ANC) can run the continent's biggest economy, President Jacob
Zuma said on Sunday, as he sought to dispel the concerns of
rating agencies and investors about sluggish growth.
In his opening address to an ANC conference to choose its
leadership for the next five years, Zuma said two downgrades by
international ratings agencies this year did not mean South
Africa was in trouble.
"We want to dismiss the perceptions 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."
Zuma said the government was relying on its long-term
National Development Plan as its strategy for undoing the
"glaring and deep" inequalities left by decades of
white-minority apartheid rule, which ended in 1994.
"Today, the ratings agencies and investors are asking
whether the ANC can continue to manage this economy so that we
can grow, create jobs, manage our debt and provide policy
certainty," Zuma said.
"Yes, the ANC will continue to provide strong economic
leadership and steer our economy boldly."
South Africa's economy is forecast to grow 2.5 percent this
year, well short of the 7 percent the government says is needed
to make a serious dent in 25 percent unemployment.