Investors have been roiled by South African President Jacob Zuma’s threat to fire his finance minister. The rand fell by almost 3% and yields on the country’s benchmark 10-year bond jumped by as much as 30 basis points on Tuesday after Bloomberg News reported that Zuma had told allies he planned to fire Pravin Gordhan. But, within the course of the morning, investors were starting to pare those losses. Such optimism looks premature: if Zuma fires Gordhan, investors will take it negatively — the finance minister has become the bellwether for SA’s openness to overseas money. If he gets a stay of execution, investors will still be concerned that internal political conflict could jeopardise their rights in the country. History provides some guide as to how much worse things could get. Respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was replaced in December 2015 by David Van Rooyen, a little-known ANC MP. Then, domestic 10-year yields surged by nearly 200 basis points and Fitch cut the sovereig...

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