Government At War With Itself? South African Finance Minister Faces Fraud Charges, Rand Plunges

South African prosecutors on Tuesday ordered Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to appear in court on Nov. 2 for allegedly breaking public finance rules by granting a colleague early retirement — news that sent the rand and share prices reeling, Reuter reported.

The rand dropped as much as 3.4 percent against the dollar on the latest legal problems for the finance minister who says he has been the victim of a politically motivated campaign over the last few months.

In his previous role as head of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Gordhan approved early retirement for tax agency deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and re-hired him as a consultant, costing the tax agency around 1.1 million rand ($79,000), according to Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams.

Gordhan is also being investigated for his role in setting up a surveillance unit at the tax department a decade ago which is suspected of spying on politicians including President Jacob Zuma, Abrahams said, according to Reuters.