Rand firms as ANC says new president will be elected this week
The rand was firmer on Wednesday afternoon‚ but off its best intraday levels‚ as President Jacob Zuma‚ in an SABC interview‚ questioned the reasons behind the ANC’s national executive committee’s (NEC’s) decision to recall him.
In a rambling rebuttal of the ANC’s decision‚ a defiant Zuma defended his stance‚ saying his removal would be unfair. “I do not agree with the NEC decision to recall me and there is no compelling reason for me to resign.”
Zuma repeated the question‚ directed at the NEC‚ about what he had done wrong. He also rejected the view that there were two centres of power within the country.
He did ask for a grace period before leaving office‚ which was rejected by the NEC.
Earlier‚ the ANC confirmed that it would back an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence in Zuma‚ to be debated on Thursday.
Zuma has been given a deadline by the ANC caucus — midnight on Wednesday — to resign‚ failing which he will be removed by Parliament and a new president will be elected‚ hopefully immediately.
The ANC announced on Tuesday that it had decided to recall Zuma.
At 3pm the rand was at R11.8368 to the dollar from R11.9629‚ after having earlier firmed to R11.7916‚ it’s best level in more than two-and-a-half years. It was at R14.6123 to the euro from R14.7753 and at R16.4111 to the pound from R16.6135.
The euro was at $1.2344 from $1.235.
The market was also eyeing crucial US inflation data for January‚ which was scheduled for release at 3.30pm South African time. This will give a clue as to when its central bank will raise interest rates further. January’s inflation is expected to have come in at 1.9%‚ slightly lower than the previous month’s 2.1%. The US Federal Reserve has a target of 2%.