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President Zuma appoints new finance minister

01 April 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized Gordhan's firing in a rare public rebuke of the president, and Gwede Mantashe, the ruling party's secretary-general, said on Radio 702 that effective Cabinet ministers were dismissed and ineffective ones were kept.

Another ANC veteran, former cabinet minister Barbara Hogan, said Mr. Zuma has become a "rogue" president and the ANC is beginning to distance itself from him.

The South African rand was one of the top three emerging market currencies past year and in early 2017, enjoying a 12.6 percent surge against the greenback in 2016 outpaced only by Brazil's real and Russia's ruble.

Interest rates are also likely to move to a higher plane given the implications for South Africa's credit ratings.

Both Ramaphosa and Mantashe have now said that they were not consulted on the reshuffle and claim that the list was just put in front of them and told that's the way it'll be.

"These developments, together with relevant policy announcements from the new cabinet, could result in Fitch reviewing its ratings on the South Africa sovereign".

Gordhan has also challenged the growing influence of the Guptas, powerful and wealthy Indian immigrants who are close to Zuma and who use this link to seek lucrative government contracts.

The departure of Gordhan exposed tensions within the ruling African National Congress party, which lost control of key metropolitan areas in local elections a year ago, partly because of dissatisfaction with Zuma.

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Zuma had replaced Gordhan with Malusi Gigaba, eNCA said.

They are anxious over South Africa's economy just at a time when many believed it was starting to stabilise.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said it would file an urgent legal request to try and block the reshuffle and separately push for a parliamentary vote of no-confidence in the President. "South Africa is pretty much in the penalty box for investors now", said Moz Afzal, global chief investment officer of Swiss investment manager EFG Asset Management.

He served as finance minister from 2009 to 2014, taking the post up again in 2015 following the events dubbed as 9/12 when President Jacob Zuma replaced Nhlanhla Nene with David van Rooyen.

Zuma's reshuffle has drawn criticism from business leaders as well as his allies and even within his own party in the Parliament.

Hogan is one of a group of 100 ANC struggle veterans who have urged the ruling party to alter course.

The scandal-ridden Zuma in November survived an attempt by senior party members to oust him as president.

South Africa has fired its finance minister, sending the country's currency crashing. South Africa now has a zero-growth GDP, a decreasing tax base and an unemployment rate of 26.5 percent. Without question, though, the most significant - and concerning - is the removal of the respected and regarded Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas.