Cape Town - Finance Pravin Gordhan, who left the country on a post-Budget investor roadshow to the UK and US on Sunday, was ordered by President Jacob Zuma to come back to South Africa immediately. The Treasury confirmed Gordhan will land in SA tomorrow, while his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, who was set to join the delegation in the US later tomorrow, won't leave SA.
The reaction from the markets was swift, with the rand tanking more than 3%. By 18:30 the currency was trading at R12.77/$, from a low of R12.82 reached in the session. Before the Gordhan bombshell, the rand raced to an almost 2-year-high of R12.31 to the greenback after US President Donald Trump's healthcare bill flopped.
Gordhan's call back fuelled speculation of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle, with analysts' reaction on Zuma's move ranging from highly embarrassing, economic sabotage and pain-inflicting to the President being 'hell-bent on breaking SA'.