Rand comes tumbling down after Jacob Zuma's 'cabinet massacre'

On Friday, Zuma caught everyone off guard and threw the market into a spin after he made a cabinet reshuffle which led to Mr. Gordhan being fired and 19 other changes made to his administration.


The value of rand fell 1.5% to a two-month low, continuing last week's fall sparked by the sacking of widely respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Despite assurance by his replacement, Malusi Gigaba, to defend the country’s investment-grade credit rating, the rand continued to sink further and analysts are expecting it to suffer a series of downgrades.

While Mr Gigaba has a track record of policymaking, most recently as home affairs minister, he lacks a background in economics, which has promoted criticism that he is too inexperienced for the job.

A downgrade of the currency means it is more expensive for South Africa to borrow money on the international markets, as lending to the country would be seen as riskier.

Zuma has received strong criticism from all quarters led by the ruling African National Congress which has come out to say they were not consulted or aware of the cabinet reshuffle.

ANC deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, called Mr Gordhan's sacking "totally, totally unacceptable" while ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe also opposed it.

South African parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete added she’s considering a request to recall lawmakers to debate an opposition-sponsored motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, after the sweeping cabinet changes.

“Given the seriousness inherent in the motions of no confidence and their implication on the nation, I have therefore decided to cut my trip to Bangladesh short to ensure that these requests are given the appropriate consideration,” Mbete told reporters Sunday as she landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Since coming to office in 2009, Zuma has survived four motions of no-confidence and one impeachment attempt filed by the opposition.

ANC has always rallied its 62 percent majority in the 400-seat National Assembly and successfully blocked all the motions of no-confidence, which require a simple majority to pass, this time round however Zuma’s exit may be nigh.


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