South African finance minister pulled from overseas tour

"Why does he simply not tell South Africa?" it said in a statement.

Looking ahead the EUR ZAR exchange rate is likely to advance further later today if Zuma follows through with the sacking of Gordhan as his cabinet reconvenes later this afternoon.

President Jacob Zuma wants to replace Gordhan and has the support of party Chairwoman Baleka Mbete and Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte, the sources said.

The rand added 0.5 percent to 12.9307 per dollar as of 3:38 p.m.in Johannesburg, reversing losses of as much as 1.3 percent. "They are destroying the values and traditions of the ANC and the trust that the overwhelming majority of our citizens gave the ANC during the struggle against apartheid and in the early days of our short democracy".

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"The rand was strengthening and South Africa was on a better wicket".

Spokesperson Njabulo Nzuza says the markets can no longer be trusted as a barometer of the worldwide world's reaction to political decisions back home. The case has been a particular bone of contention between Zuma and his finance minister.

Credit ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's have warned that South Africa risks being downgraded to junk status if the government's management of the economy is viewed as corrupt and inefficient.

The Business Day reported on Wednesday that it had "reliably learnt" that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy‚ Mcebisi Jonas‚ were on their way out of Cabinet.

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Local assets have been under pressure since Zuma ordered Gordhan on Monday to abandon an investor roadshow in Britain and fly home, triggering questions about his future. The top four South African banks closed accounts linked to the Gupta family businesses and in turn the family is legally contesting the finance minister's involvement therein.

Zuma pulled Gordhan from his global trip to appear in court of Tuesday after the Guptas filed an application for him to do so. Gordhan asked for the state attorney to appear for him.

Speaking after attending Kathrada's funeral, Gordhan said: "You deal with it in a professional way. and if one is told one's services are not required any longer, that's the end of one chapter, and we open a new chapter". "It also militates against the imperative of ensuring political and policy certainty".

While it could be argued that the Rand gains were over extended and a reversal was possible, the big question mark hung over the USA healthcare reform. The rating is still above "junk", but a threat of economic chaos following the recent wave of political turmoil might render both investors and rating agencies even more skeptical of the economic prospects of South Africa.

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