Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

The rand was slightly firmer against the dollar on Wednesday afternoon, holding on to some of the gains from its rally earlier this week, following Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as leader of the ANC.

There was some concern on Wednesday that the continuing ANC conference in Johannesburg could collapse due to fighting over some of the election results, but analysts said this was unlikely.

The ANC was meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the contention building around the issue of 68 missing votes during the election of the position of secretary-general. Free State premier Ace Magashule won on Monday by 24 votes, but supporters of his rival, Senzo Mchunu, have been pushing for a recount.

Magashule is aligned with the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction, while Mchunu is in Ramaphosa’s camp. It is widely expected the ANC will quash the issue, with reports suggesting that even if the 68 votes were included, Magashule won the contest.

The rand has rallied almost 6% against the dollar since Friday, when markets began pricing in a victory by Ramaphosa, who is seen as the more business-friendly candidate.

There were still some risks facing the rand, including the possible collapse of the conference, said Rand Merchant Bank currency strategist John Cairns. Global issues appeared to be having little effect on the currency.

Although South Africans were engrossed by ongoing developments at the ANC conference, offshore markets had focused on the headline of a Ramaphosa win and had heavily bought local bonds as a sign of confidence, said TreasuryOne dealer Phillip Pearce.

At 3pm, the rand was R12.6821 to the dollar from R12.7034, R15.0207 to the euro from R15.0406, and R17.0019 to the pound from R17.0055.

The euro was at $1.1843 from $1.184.

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