JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand weakened slightly on Friday as investors bagged profits from a rally that has set the local unit up for its longest weekly winning streak since 2002.

At 1517 GMT the rand was 0.2 percent weaker at 12.3275 per dollar, paring this week’s gains to about 0.6 percent but still on course for its eighth straight week of advances.

The rand has been on the front foot since December, supported by investors’ hopes that the newly elected leader of the ruling African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa, would push through business-friendly policies.

But there have been fears he could be hamstrung by divisions in the party; a Reuters poll of strategists published on Friday suggested the rand would weaken more than 12 percent this year.

“I have belief in Cyril, but in the split of the top six ANC officials, I don’t know how much he can get done,” said Frank Blackmore, an economist at EFConsult.

On the bourse, investors took their cue from an upbeat tone in major emerging markets.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index rose 0.34 percent to 52,842 and the broader All-share index added 0.4 percent to 59,717.

In fixed income, government bonds were weaker, with the yield on the government paper due in 2026 up 1.5 basis points to 8.555 percent.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Joe Brock and Andrew Heavens

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