JOHANNESBURG (AP) " South Africa's finance minister returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday after being abruptly ordered to pull out of a trade promotion trip to Britain and the United States, fuelling investor fears that he is about to be fired by President Jacob Zuma.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, 67, has a strong reputation as a bulwark against corruption and has reportedly blocked some questionable government deals over management of state-owned companies like South African Airways. Gordhan has been criticized by several senior government officials allied to Zuma, 74.

South Africa's rand has tumbled by close to 5 percent against the dollar since Zuma's office released a statement on Monday instructing Gordhan to immediately return to South Africa.