20 Feb

Zuma’s Political Victims to Return to South Africa Cabinet

Former South African ministers banished to the political wilderness under Jacob Zuma’s presidency are set to make a comeback as his successor prepares to revive the stagnant economy.

The ruling African National Congress’s top-six officials, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, will meet on Friday to discuss changes to the cabinet, according to three people who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who Zuma appointed on March 31 when he had no experience in economics, tax, or banking, is among those who will be affected in the shake-up that’s expected to be announced next week, they said. Gigaba will deliver his first full budget to lawmakers on Wednesday.

Among those touted to come back are former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. They lost their positions in the March midnight cabinet shuffle that led to a credit-ratings downgrade and a sell-off of the country’s currency and bonds.

The two, who were widely respected by investors, became part of a campaign against ‘state capture,’ a term used in South Africa to describe allegations that Zuma ceded control of the state to the Gupta brothers, who are his friends and business associates of his son, Duduzane. They all deny wrongdoing.

“It is the prerogative of the president to change cabinets; of course there will be those engagements by the top leadership,” ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said by phone. Tyrone Seale, the presidency’s acting spokesman, didn’t immediately answer a call to his mobile phone.

Zuma’s nine-year term ended last week when the National Executive Committee of the ANC instructed him to resign as head of state in order for Ramaphosa to take over.

Ramaphosa could also appoint Nhlanhla Nene, another finance minister that Zuma fired and replaced with a little-known lawmaker in 2015, to the cabinet, the people said. Nene declined to comment.

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28 Dec

Rand Extends Comeback as Traders Anticipate Ramaphosa Presidency

It’s taken South Africa’s rand exactly nine months — and a new ruling-party leader — to claw back the losses it suffered after President Jacob Zuma unexpectedly fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in March.

The rand gained as much as 1.8 percent on Wednesday to 12.2889, erasing its losses since Gordhan’s dismissal and the highest since July 2015. Gordhan’s dismissal sent the currency plunging 11 percent in two weeks and sparked a credit-rating downgrade to junk.

The rand has rallied more than 6 percent since Cyril Ramaphosa, who has pledged to revive the struggling economy and stamp out corruption, was elected leader of the African National Congress on Dec. 18. That set the billionaire businessman on a path to take over from Zuma as the country’s president. Investors are betting that may happen sooner than 2019, when his term expires, according to Legal & General Investment Management Ltd.

“The market is positively surprised by the increasing amount of support that Mr. Ramaphosa is rallying behind him,” Simon Quijano-Evans, an emerging-market strategist at Legal & General, said by email. “He is likely to continue doing so, increasing speculation about another no-confidence motion in the presidency in 2018.”

Members of the ANC’s newly elected executive committee will meet Zuma to advise him to step down in favor of Ramaphosa, Johannesburg’s City Press reported on Dec. 24, citing unidentified people. Ramaphosa beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was backed by the president, to the top ANC position in a closely contested vote.

Flows into South African stocks and bonds have soared since the vote. Foreigners bought a net 6.4 billion rand ($516 million) of debt and 13.4 billion rand of equities in the week ending Dec. 22, according to JSE Ltd. data.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-27/rand-extends-comeback-as-traders-warm-to-ramaphosa-presidency