JOHANNESBURG - The currency remained on the front foot, soaring to its firmest since early 2015 in the wake of Zuma’s exit this week. 

Analysts have, however, warned that the rally faces serious obstacles ahead of a budget speech next Wednesday. Zuma quit late on Wednesday, reluctantly heeding orders by the ruling ANC to bring an end to a nine-year tenure punctuated by scandals, stagnant economic growth and policy uncertainty.

The rand rally, however, came to a halt shortly before President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his first State of the Nation Address on Friday.  

At about 7pm on Friday, the rand stood 0.24% weaker at 11.6375 per dollar. The rand managed a high of 11.5650 against the US dollar earlier in the day however.

Ramaphosa said that South Africa faces “tough decisions” to reduce the size of its fiscal deficit and stabilise its debt after years of weak growth during his State of the nation address.

Ramaphosa also said his government was committed to “policy certainty and consistency”, in contrast to his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who resigned this week on the orders of the ruling African National Congress.

"We will expect this [jobs] summit to come up with practical solutions and initiatives that will be implemented immediately," Ramaphosa said while delivering his first State of the Nation Address after succeeding Jacob Zuma, who resigned under pressure this week, as South Africa's new head of state.