REUTERS - South African President Jacob Zuma names his cabinet on Sunday, with investors eager to know the fate of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, widely considered a deft handler of the economy.
Zuma faces pressure to appoint effective ministers who can deliver on the ruling ANC's promises to tackle widespread poverty, crime and AIDS and create jobs.
He said in his inauguration speech on Saturday the country should acknowledge it faces tough economic times and will not be spared the impact of the global credit crunch.
Manuel could stay in his post or be transferred to a powerful new planning commission. A transfer would be welcomed by markets provided it kept him at the heart of policy-making.
Stacking his cabinet with loyalists could undermine the credibility of Zuma, who has told ANC officials they should not expect jobs just because they supported him.
Zuma won a wide mandate in the ruling African National Congress' (ANC) April 22 landslide election victory. His toughest task may be balancing the interests of unions and communists who helped him rise to the top against those of investors who fear he will steer the economy to the left.
One of the most divisive figures in South African politics, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has returned from the political wilderness after a fraud conviction to appear alongside Zuma at party rallies, and may well join the cabinet.
Feared by investors for her old-style revolutionary rhetoric, Nelson Mandela's ex-wife is unlikely to secure a high-profile ministry. But her return to prominence may provide clues about Zuma's focus and priorities.
Accused by critics of embarrassing South Africa by backing governments with dubious human rights records, Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also has a frosty relationship with her ex-husband Zuma, and may get the boot from her job.
Whoever Zuma appoints as finance minister will be tasked with helping him guide Africa's biggest economy through what may already be its first recession in 17 years.
A frontrunner for the post is Pravin Gordhan, who has headed the South African Revenue Service since 1999, serving under Manuel, and has been praised for turning it into an efficient body that has repeatedly collected tax over target.
His appointment could lead to a relatively seamless transition and policy continuity, a key hope of foreign investors.
Zuma might choose ANC heavyweight Cyril Ramaphosa to head the finance portfolio.
The former trade unionist served as ANC secretary-general and was an architect of the globally-admired constitution that took effect after the end of apartheid.
Since then he has built up a business empire, steering the unlisted Shanduka Holdings to become one of the biggest black-owned groups in the country.
Manuel is praised by many in the markets for tight control over spending and instilling financial stability.
He has been in the post since 1996, making him the longest-serving finance minister in the world, and remains one of the highest-ranked members of the ruling party.
He presided over South Africa's longest-ever growth period -- a decade, until the fourth quarter of 2008. Some in the ANC want to see him stay in his post for a transitional period, possibly two years.