An impact assessment by civil society DOWNGRADE Ndumiso Mlilo Xinhua SOUTH Africa was downgraded to subinvestment grade and it would affect the Southern African region, said experts on Friday in Johannesburg. Jessica ReesJones, executive director of Inyathelo, a South African civil society said the downgrade would affect the service delivery in the country and there will be political, socioeconomic impact. About $10 billion (R132.1bn) will leave the country as investors would look at less riskier countries to put their money Jones, who is also a consultant, said the cost of public debt was around 11 percent currently and would be more. She said: "There won't be any money for social services like education, water; housing and health would be compromised. There are more than 16 million people who survive on government grants, they will receive less than they are getting now" Jones said experience has shown that it takes about 5 to 7 years to recover when downgraded. The civil society has a role to partner government and business to rescue the country She noted that there will be still an appetite in some international funders to help the civil society even if the country was downgraded. "This is an opportunity to stand up with a collective voice by different role players and take ownership and see how to map the way forward. Civil society has to stop the us and them attitude. We have to see what to do and how to do it, junk status or not," said Jones. She said there will be reduction in the foreign direct investment as few would invest in the country.