South Africa’s rand reacts to reports Finance Minister asked to be sacked

South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to sack him, local newspaper Business Day reports citing government sources. Following the report, the rand was weaker early on Monday.

Business Day had reported that Nene requested to be relieved of his duty after admitting to visiting the Gupta brothers at home. The Guptas are friends of former leader Jacob Zuma whose corruption trial is scheduled to start next month.

Since his testimony, pressure has mounted on Nene to resign leading to his public apology on Friday. Sowetan Live also reports that Nene had approached Ramaphosa at the weekend asking to be fired.

If Ramaphosa accedes to his request, a new minister will have to deliver the mid-term budget in parliament in two weeks time. However, it is unlikely that Ramaphosa will fire Nene just yet, with the contrition shown by the minister expected to calm nerves in the camp of those putting pressure on him to resign. More so,  the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture is currently investigating allegations that he exerted undue influence as minister under Zuma. If he is found guilty and sacked, the impact on the economy will be minimal.

The last time Nene was sacked, the rand plunged as much as 5.4 percent against the dollar and hit a record low of 15.3857.