Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Sunday, 19 July 2009 13:17 UK

Zuma replaces central bank chief

South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria (10 May 2009)
The recession means Mr Zuma has little room for manoeuvre

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has named former deputy governor Gill Marcus as the new governor of the country's central bank.

She replaces Tito Mboweni, who has been praised for efforts to fight inflation, and will take over in November.

Mr Zuma said he had initially appointed Mr Mboweni for a third, five-year term, but he had asked to leave early.

Ms Marcus served as deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank between 1999 and 2004.

She is currently chairwoman of banking group Absa.

'Highly respected'

"I have reappointed Mr Mboweni as Reserve Bank Governor. However, he has indicated his wish to leave in November 2009 to pursue other interests," said Mr Zuma.

"I have therefore decided to designate Ms Gill Marcus."

The appointment has been closely watched. With the country in recession, the president has come under pressure from unions to loosen monetary policy, and focus more on job creation.

But, for now, Mr Zuma seems to be resisting such calls.

"She's not new... let nobody wonder what's going to happen. She was there when the policy was made, so there's nothing really new," he said.

Analysts said Mr Mboweni had been expected to stay on in the post, but that financial markets were likely to welcome the appointment of Ms Marcus as a sign of continuity.

"She's a person of fiercely independent views, and is entirely appropriate, since she was previously deputy governor. I would by no means consider this to be a 'win' - so to speak - for labour or the left," Michael Spicer, chief executive of Business Leadership South Africa, told the BBC.

Colen Garrow at investment group Brait said: "She is highly respected in the market place. I think the appointment won't move financial markets - it's a good appointment."

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