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South Africa's Zuma asked to step down

South Africa's Zuma asked to step downSouth Africa's powerful trades union federation Cosatu has called for President Jacob Zuma to step down, according to BBC on Tuesday.

Its Secretary General Bheki Ntshalintshali said he is no longer the "right person" to lead the country.

Zuma has been under growing pressure following a major cabinet reshuffle which included the sacking of trusted Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

That led to South Africa's credit rating being cut to junk status putting more pressure on a troubled economy.

Cosatu, a key part of the governing alliance, says it has 1.8 million members.

Last week, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa called the sacking of Gordhan "totally unacceptable".

In a speech at the weekend, which has been interpreted as a public broadside against Zuma, he called for a renewal of the country and criticised "greedy and corrupt people".

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe also said that it was difficult for Zuma to command respect after the constitutional court found him in breach of the law when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

Earlier on Monday, South Africa's credit rating has been cut to junk status by the rating agency S&P Global. The agency said that political upheaval, including the recent sacking of finance minister Pravin Gordhan, was endangering the economy. S&P also expressed concern over government debt, and in particular the expense of supporting the state energy firm Eskom.

S&P explained its decision, stating that: "Internal government and party divisions could, we believe, delay fiscal and structural reforms, and potentially erode the trust that had been established between business leaders and labour representatives (including in the critical mining sector)."

"An additional risk is that businesses may now choose to withhold investment decisions that would otherwise have supported economic growth," S&P added.
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