Expectations Gordhan will go leave South African markets on edge

Local assets have been under pressure since Zuma ordered Gordhan on Monday to abandon an investor roadshow overseas and fly home, triggering speculation about his future.

President Jacob Zuma and Finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan flew back into South Africa on Tuesday, obeying an abrupt recall from President Jacob Zuma, and said "let's wait and see" when asked about reports that he was about to be sacked.

It is unclear what happened after Zuma signed off on the trip that would justify a public recall of his finance minister.

"In the week ahead we expect the rand to trade in a range of R12.40 to R13.40 against the United States dollar", Bishop added.

Zuma reappointed Gordhan in December 2015 after his decision to replace the respected Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister with a little-known politician triggered a steep selloff in South African assets. The banks filed papers supporting Gordhan's application and made revelations about the Guptas' dodgy dealings that prompted closure of their accounts.

"Speculation is that the duo may be fired tomorrow evening, after Uncle Kathy's funeral", Zuma's one-time protege Julius Malema said on his Twitter feed, referring to Gordhan and deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

"Tensions are already high between Zuma and Gordhan and so this will just serve to deepen their mutual hostility", said Susan Booysen, a professor at the University of Witwatersrand's School of Governance.

"On Tuesday the court ruled that the Presidency is not before court but we could keep a watching brief", said the Presidency.

Gordhan, who left South Africa on Sunday to lead a delegation that includes business executives and labour union representatives, said earlier by phone that his London visit would go ahead. "The President was cited as an interested party on the basis that he would be directly affected by the declaratory order that is sought by the 17th respondent, Standard Bank", said the Presidency.

Over the past year, Gordhan's main effort was aimed at encouraging worldwide investors to allocate capital in the South African economy.

Gordhan denied wrongdoing and described the allegations against him as "political mischief". The party's leadership -- it is uncertain who exactly relayed the message -- allegedly told Zuma his choice of Brian Molefe as replacement was unacceptable.

"These roadshows provide a valuable opportunity to promote investment confidence in South Africa - it is most ill-timed and ill advised to cancel these roadshows at this point in time", states Jabu Mabuza, Business Unity South Africa President.

  • Leroy Wright