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South African rand steadies as ANC votes for new leader

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South Africa’s rand steadied early on Monday, giving up earlier gains as the ruling African National Congress voted to elect a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma as party head.

ANC delegates began casting their ballots in the early hours of Monday, to select between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former chair of the Commission of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as new party leader.

At 0645 GMT, the rand was traded at 13.0900 per dollar, unchanged from its New York close on Friday.

The currency had raced to a 3-1/2-month high of 12.7300 earlier on hopes Ramaphosa, who is favoured by markets, would win the race.

“At this time the market still awaits the outcome of the voting process, price action earlier in the session suggesting that the markets although optimistic, of a market friendly outcome, remain cautious and liquidity will be tested throughout the session, in both directions,” Nedbank analysts wrote in a note.

Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 0.49 percent.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was down 5 basis points at 9.025 percent, reflecting firmer bond prices.

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EFF demands the sacking of South Africa’s finance minister Nene.

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South Africa’s political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.



Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.

The Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as finance minister.

Ramaphosa’s office responded and said they were not aware of Nene’s request.

And on Tuesday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Nene is also expected to read the mid-term budget later this month.

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The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.

In a written letter to Ramaphosa, Malema argued that the country, whose economy is in recession, had very serious challenges that needed a credible finance minister to address them.

‘‘Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance,’‘ Malema said.

He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.

‘‘The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate.”

For the EFF, Nene’s position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle.

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.

The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.

Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

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South Africa: Ex-minister reveals Zuma’s Gupta deals.

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South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday he was fired by former president Jacob Zuma for refusing to approve contracts that would financially benefit the Gupta family, friends of Zuma accused of corruption.



Nene, who was giving testimony at a judicial inquiry into influence-peddling, said the main reason he was he was sacked was for rejecting a proposed plan to build a fleet of nuclear power plants. The project could have cost up to $100 billion.

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Zuma and the Gupta family deny allegations they colluded to inappropriately divert state funds.

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