The rand was much firmer against the dollar in afternoon trade after a trading at R13.30 to the dollar ahead of the start of ANC conference at the weekend. In the build-up to the conference, the rand has strengthened to levels last seen before the medium-term budget policy statement in October. The conclusion of the conference should see a new president for the party, with ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma the most popular candidates. Just a day before the conference, a Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling declared the KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) members, led by Sihle Zikalala, unlawful. This leaves the 27-member PEC suspended as delegates at the conference, pending the appeal process; they will attend as guests. Another High Court ruling in Mafikeng, has nullified the ANC’s Bojanala regional conference in the North West, setting aside the outcomes of 38 branch general meetings. Both rulings are likely to be a setback for Dla...

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