South Africa's rand was softer against the dollar as trade resumed on Tuesday after the long Easter weekend, with dealers expecting it to take direction mainly from Federal Reserve comments in the absence of local data.

Markets awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for signals on when the U.S. central bank is likely to raise interest rates.

"The tone of the address will largely dictate direction in coming sessions," Standard Bank trader Inshaan Omar said in a market note.

Stocks were set to open largely flat at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index dipping just 0.17 percent.

Government bonds weakened slightly, and the yield for paper due in 2026 edged up 1 basis point to 9.38 percent.