Gordhan to replace Van Rooyen

South African President Jacob Zuma has replaced newly appointed Finance Minister David van Rooyen with the more experienced Pravin Gordhan in a surprise Sunday night announcement.

President Jacob Zuma said, "on the 9th of December 2015, I announced the appointment of a new Minister of Finance, Mr David van Rooyen," Sunday's statement from the presidency said.

"I have received many representations to reconsider my decision. As a democratic government, we emphasize the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views."

The rand surged more than 5 percent against the dollar.

Gordhan is to be sworn in as finance minister on Monday.

Mr Gordhan was widely respected when he served as South Africa's finance minister from 2009 until 2014. He steered the economy through the first recession in 17 years, while fending off pressure from all sides to increase spending.

The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates on the same day in a move that could put economies in countries like South Africa under further pressure.