Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was regarded by businessmen and investors as a competent steward of South Africa's economy, the second largest in Africa.
His departure - after being fired by President Jazob Zuma - has spooked stock markets, triggering the biggest drop in the value of the rand currency for four years.
The shock removal comes a week after the Fitch credit rating agency downgraded South Africa to just one step above junk status.
Nene's sacking also follows growing disillusionment and protests against South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
So, how will the ANC cope with the latest blow to the battered economy?
Presenter: Jane Dutton
Mzwanele Manyi - Former cabinet spokesperson for the ANC and president of the Progressive Professional Forum
Nic Borain - Consulting political analyst for BNP Paribas Securities in South Africa
Source: Al Jazeera