Rand remains under pressure as Zuma refuses to step down

THE RAND remained under pressure on Monday 05 February, although slightly firmer from overnight weaker levels, amid reports that President Jacob Zuma had refused to step down voluntarily.

Party officials were mandated by the ANC national working committee (NWC) last week to meet Zuma and ask him to step down, after a national executive committee (NEC) meeting earlier agreed that the officials should manage his exit.

Zuma’s refusal leaves opposition parties open to proceed with a motion of no confidence in his leadership later this month, which might lead to his removal anyway.

Maplecroft risk analysts said in a note that although an impeachment vote would be damaging and divisive for the ANC, leaving Zuma in place is probably the riskier option for ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Zuma continues to cause chaos with unexpected policy announcements that are adding to the already long list of severe problems that the next president will have to deal with,” Maplecroft said.

The rand was on the back foot on Friday last week following better than expected US jobs data.

“The improvement in the US payrolls saw the markets buy dollars with some enthusiasm, as the possibility of an acceleration in the pace of US Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes manifested itself,” analysts at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking said.

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