JOHANNESBURG - The rand edged higher on Friday, regaining ground thanks to a U.S. jobs report that sent the dollar tumbling, with South African stocks and bonds also making gains.
The South African currency had earlier fallen after Gwede Mantashe, chairman of the governing African National Congress (ANC), told Bloomberg that it wanted to expand the South African Reserve Bank's (SARB) mandate to do more to support the economy.
The central bank's primary focus, as spelled out in the constitution, is currently "to protect the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth".
Any threat to the SARB tends to rattle investors, which has a strong reputation for acting independently, and the ANC would need the support of two-thirds of lawmakers to change its mandate, but only has about 58% of parliamentarians.
South Africa has one of the world's highest unemployment rates, which the ANC is under pressure from voters to address and changing the SARB's mandate is an issue that party officials have toyed with for years but not forged ahead with.
The SARB has opposed previous change attempts and has said the debate is an unnecessary distraction as the challenges facing the economy cannot be solved by monetary policy alone.
At 1732 GMT, the rand traded at 17.1600 against the dollar, about 0.1% stronger than its previous close.
On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Top-40 index ended 2.04% higher while the broader All-share index rose 1.88%, helped by gains in resources companies and mirroring moves in global equities.
The government's benchmark 2030 bond was stronger in afternoon deals, with the yield down 6 basis points to 10%.
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Alexander Winning and Alexander Smith)