We welcome junk status - ANCYL

Johannesburg - ANC Youth League President Collen Maine says they welcome the country's recent downgrade to junk status.

Earlier this week, S&P downgraded SA to junk status. On Friday, Fitch Ratings followed suit.

Maine said President Jacob Zuma was the only president who, through his Cabinet reshuffle, had started the process toward radical economic transformation in this lifetime.

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The youth league president was one of the leaders who addressed supporters outside the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters in the city centre on Friday.

Thousands gathered to defend their "political home".

This was in response to an anti-Zuma march held by the Democratic Alliance on the same day.

It was one of many held across the country, demanding that the president step down.

"We are welcoming the junk status. When the economy rises again, it will be held by us," Maine told supporters.

He said they were not worried about the different credit ratings giving SA a junk credit rating.

"We welcome the reshuffle by President Zuma, particularly in affirming former presidents of the youth league. Former league presidents Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula have been deployed to strategic ministries.

"Minister of Finance [Malusi] Gigaba please don't be captured. If you clown and become a friend of the monopoly capital, you are out," Maine said.

'Defend the president'

Maine said Gigaba's deployment meant the beginning of radical economic transformation.

"We are not talking about inclusive economy, we are not in government, people have not been including us," he said.

"We want the economy in the hands of the majority, hence the onslaught on President Jacob Zuma," explained Maine.

"Zuma has done what our beloved comrade Nelson Mandela failed to do, may his soul rest in peace. He has done what comrade Thabo Mbeki never did; he did what Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe never did..."

The league president also urged supporters to not allow themselves to be provoked, warning that "others" wanted to see them taken to jail. He once again reiterated the need to support Zuma.

"We will defend the president with everything. We will defend the president with our lives," said Maine.