The rand plummeted against major international currencies on Wednesday evening shortly after President Jacob Zuma removed Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister. Van Rooyen served as the Whip of the Standing Committee on Finance and as Whip of the Economic Transformation Cluster.

By midnight the rand was trading at R14.94/$ after hitting R15.38 against the greenback within minutes after the announcement. Against the pound and euro, the South African unit was trading at R22.67 and R16.46 respectively.

It however slipped again to below R15/$ in overnight trade in New York, with the unit last trading at R15.03 against the dollar.

Peter Attard Montalto, emerging markets economist at Nomura International, said in light of the events on Wednesday (Nene’s removal) “R16/$ now seems not an outrageous target”.

The rand has lost almost 30% of its value against the dollar so far this year.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zuma announced that Nene would be replaced by Van Rooyen, an ANC MP.

Nene was to be deployed to another “strategic position” which would be announced in due course.

Van Rooyen is a former mayor of the Merafong municipality and a former North West provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association.

He is currently the whip of the standing committee on finance and whip of the economic transformation cluster.

"The new deployment of Mr Nene will be announced in due course," Zuma said.