South Africa's political and economic stability stumbled further into uncertain territory Tuesday as speculation rose over the potential dismissal of the county's Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan.
Eyebrows were raised and the rand fell Monday as President Jacob Zuma suddenly recalled Gordhan and National Treasury Director General Lungisa Fuzile from an investor roadshow to the U.K. and U.S.
The President gave no justification for the decision, which has done little to pacify markets and commentators.
Media reports from Bloomberg suggest that President Zuma told senior officials Monday evening that he plans to dismiss Gordhan, while analysts anticipate a potential wider cabinet reshuffle as the President attempts to overhaul the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ahead of his scheduled retirement at the end of this year.
The rand (ZAR) weakened as much as 2.9 percent and was at 12.97 to the dollar in early U.S. trading Tuesday. Before Monday's announcement, the rand had been the world's best-performing currency over the last 12 months, despite taking a number of hits when fraud charges were brought against – and later withdrawn from - Gordhan.