Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, a total of 33,904 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with 989 new cases reported, representing a 2.9% positivity rate. A further 123 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, taking total fatalities to 88,104 to date. The total number of vaccines administered is 18,735,127 (+224,184 in the last 24 hours).
- Red list: More than 300,000 British passport holders could visit friends and family or take advantage of holiday deals in and around South Africa in the coming months after the UK revised its travel red list. The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) said that it had already seen a jump in enquiries, with the UK traditionally one of South Africa’s largest source travel markets. [Fin24]
- Half a million additional jobs: The government has unveiled a pipeline of 55 new infrastructure projects valued at about R595 billion, that will create an estimated 538,500 employment opportunities. Head of infrastructure and investment in the presidency Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said 60% of the projects are at an advanced stage which means many can be rapidly graduated to support president Ramaphosa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan. [Moneyweb]
- Strike pressure: Cosatu is confident that its one-day national strike has placed enough pressure on the government to change its current fiscal policy on freezing public sector wages, retrenchments and cutting budget allocations. The trade federation and its affiliate unions in Gauteng have joined thousands of other members around the country to call on the government to safeguard South Africa’s labour force from the effects of Covid-19 and to intensify the fight against corruption in all sectors. [EWN]
- Dark weekend: South Africa is facing the possibility of further power outages this weekend having avoided load shedding since 22 July. Eskom moved South Africa to stage 2 load shedding on Thursday evening, with further cuts expected on Friday evening and Saturday morning. However, the power utility warned that load shedding could increase to further daytime slots and into the weekend if its generation reserves do not recover sufficiently. [Eskom]
- Markets: The rand firmed on Thursday after slipping earlier in the week on concerns that surging energy prices will stoke inflation while increased interest rates drove investors towards safe-haven assets. On Friday, the rand was trading at R14.99/$, R17.32/€ and R20.40/£.