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South African currency weakens to a record low after finance minister is fired

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s currency dipped to an unprecedented low against the U.S. dollar after the country’s finance minister was suddenly fired.

On Thursday, the rand was hovering around 15 to the dollar.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced late Wednesday that Nhlanhla Nene has been removed as finance minister, giving no explanation. Nene has been replaced by David van Rooyen, a former mayor and member of parliament who has served on financial committees.

The main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, called the decision “reckless and irrational.”

The Banking Association of South Africa said Nene’s removal is “very concerning.” International ratings agencies last week downgraded the country’s credit rating to a “one notch above junk rating.”