Africa

South African finance minister pulled from overseas tour

FILE -- In this Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 file photo South Africa's finance minister Pravin Gordhan, center, arrives at the South African Parliament to deliver the annual Budget speech in Cape Town, South Africa. Gordhan returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, after being abruptly ordered to pull out of a trade promotion trip to the Britain and the United States, fuelling investor fears that he is about to be fired by President Jacob Zuma. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)

FILE -- In this Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 file photo South Africa's finance minister Pravin Gordhan, center, arrives at the South African Parliament to deliver the annual Budget speech in Cape Town, South Africa. Gordhan returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, after being abruptly ordered to pull out of a trade promotion trip to the Britain and the United States, fuelling investor fears that he is about to be fired by President Jacob Zuma. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)  (The Associated Press)

South Africa's finance minister returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday after being abruptly ordered to pull out of a trade promotion trip to Britain and the United States, fuelling investor fears that he is about to be fired by President Jacob Zuma.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, 67, has a strong reputation as a bulwark against corruption and has reportedly blocked some questionable government deals over management of state-owned companies like South African Airways. Gordhan has been criticized by several senior government officials allied to Zuma, 74.

South Africa's rand has tumbled by close to 5 percent against the dollar since Zuma's office released a statement on Monday instructing Gordhan to immediately return to South Africa.