Sunday, 3rd July 2022
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Zuma orders South Africa finance minister’s return from UK

South African President Jacob Zuma has ordered his finance minister to return from an overseas investment trip, the presidency said Monday, fuelling speculation that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent.

South African President Jacob Zuma has ordered his finance minister to return from an overseas investment trip, the presidency said Monday, fuelling speculation that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent.

Zuma’s decision to recall Pravin Gordhan from Britain has led to media speculation that he could be sacked. The two men have had an increasingly uneasy relationship in recent months.

Friction has soared between Zuma, who is seeking to fund a “radical economic transformation”, and Gordhan who is taking a stand against graft and heavy spending.

“Fears are growing that President Jacob Zuma will finally pull the trigger and reshuffle his Cabinet,” wrote the Daily Maverick news site following the disclosure that the president had ordered Gordhan to curtail his trip.

The tension has also spooked the foreign exchange markets with the rand losing almost three percent against the US dollar on the day, with $1 now buying 12.65 rand. The treasury could not be reached for comment.

“President Jacob Zuma has instructed the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas to cancel the international investment promotion roadshow to the United Kingdom and the United States and return to South Africa immediately,” the presidency said in an emailed statement which did not give a reason for Gordhan’s recall.

South Africa was granted a reprieve at the end of last year when rating agencies did not drop it to the “junk” investment category following a series of downgrades, but they warned of the impact of poor growth and political instability.