South Africa’s currency has fallen close to a record low a day after Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was sacked, Reuters news agency reports.
President Jacob Zuma said that Mr Nene was being moved to “another strategic position”.
BBC Africa business reporter Lerato Mbele says that his attempt to rein in spending may have unsettled some people loyal to the president.
The sacking comes as South Africa’s economy is struggling to grow.
The rand fell to below 15 to the dollar on Thursday morning and stock prices also fell in Johannesburg as trading began, Reuters reports.
Last week, two credit ratings agencies downgraded their assessments of South Africa.
Fitch reduced its rating to just above junk status and Standard and Poor’s moved its outlook from stable to negative.
Unemployment in South Africa is above 25% and the economy is growing very slowly.
Mr Nene has been replaced by the relatively unknown David van Rooyen.
He has been the chairperson of parliament’s finance committee and before becoming an MP was the mayor of Merafong, a town to the west of Johannesburg.