Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus infections have moved to 2,995,152 cases, with deaths at 207,008. 881,510 people have recovered, but 1,906,634 cases remain active, with 57,606 in serious or critical condition. In South Africa, there are now 4,546 cases, with deaths up to 87. Recoveries sit at 1,473, with 4,002 active cases.
- Food shortages: Covid-19 threatens to cause mass starvation in Africa. Conditions vary greatly from country to country, but many struggle to ensure that their citizens have access to basic essentials: soap to clean hands, potable water and nutritious food to keep immune systems strong. 23% of people in sub-Saharan Africa are undernourished. [Bloomberg]
- Hard landing: Up to 4,700 employees of South African Airways will need to decide by the end of the week between an employment termination agreement proposed by the state-owned airline’s business rescue practitioners, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, or whether to take their chances on a “Leadership Compact” agreed to by the government and unions. [Fin24]
- Police coronavirus concern: As many as 56 police officers in the Western Cape, have tested positive for the coronavirus and several police stations have been placed under 48-hours lockdown while gang warfare has flared up again. A circular forwarded by SAPS management to members has requested them not go near the stations until further notice. [Daily Maverick]
- Spaza shop revolution: Pick n Pay and Shoprite are rolling out spaza shops in townships. Lulama Qongqo, co-founder and independent investment analyst at Midpoint Consulting, told Cape Talk: “They’re cheaper than normal spaza shops… They have the best negotiating power in the country. You’re getting the same price that you would get if you went to town.”[EWN]
- Markets: Global stocks started the week with gains amid signs of positive developments in the fight against the coronavirus and a boost to stimulus measures from the Bank of Japan. The Federal Reserve joins the BOJ and the European Central Bank will announce policy decisions this week as the battle against the pandemic continues with some countries proceeding with steps to relax lockdown measures. The rand traded at R19.07, against the dollar, at 23.62 against the pound, and R20.63 against the euro as South Africa celebrates Freedom Day.