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South African president fires finance minister

South African President Jacob Zuma has fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, ending days of speculation regarding the latter's fate since he was ordered earlier in the week of March 27 to return home from an investor road show abroad.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will replace Gordhan in a wide-reaching cabinet reshuffle and become South Africa's fourth finance minister in two years. Brian Molefe, former CEO of South African utility Eskom, had been widely tipped to replace Gordhan as finance minister.

Sifiso Buthelezi will become deputy finance minister, replacing Mcebisi Jonas.

The move risks plunging South Africa's already fragile economy into further instability as Gordhan, who had previously served as finance minister from 2009 to 2014, was seen by investors as a sign of policymaking stability, the Financial Times and Reuters wrote. The South African rand weakened significantly following the news, reaching more than 13.41 rand to the dollar around midnight, according to Fin24.

Gordhan's sacking could lead to rating agencies downgrading South Africa's credit ratings to junk status within days, the FT said.

Zuma also named, among other appointments, Mmamoloko Kubayi as energy minister and Hlengiwe Mkhize as Gigaba's successor as home affairs minister.

Gratitude Magwanishe will become deputy trade minister, while Nomathemba November will become deputy minister of small business development and Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams deputy minister of telecommunications and postal services.