Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 1,649 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,640,162. Deaths have reached 96,993 (+2), while recoveries have climbed to 3,502,319, leaving the country with a balance of 42,499 active cases. The Health Department said that 20,405 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, representing an 8.1% positivity rate.
- Nersa powers: The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill provides greater detail about the role of energy regulator Nersa, and expands its mandate and some of its powers. The bill provides for the establishment of a transmission system operator and describes its roles and new market structure. It also makes changes to how Nersa operates including powers to not only mediate, but to also provide binding decisions in disputes among licensees and customers. [Moneyweb]
- Covid looting: Scorpio, the investigative arm of Daily Maverick, alleges that businessman Lawrence Mulaudzi was in 2018, paid a R47.5 million advisory fee from a R1.37 billion Public Investment Corporation deal. He then allegedly paid nearly R6 million to a transfer attorney’s account for a townhouse bought by the family trust of Zweli Mkhize. Mulaudzi is cited as saying that the payment to the ZLM Trust had been for a “legitimate business transaction” and denied alleged kickbacks paid to Mkhize. [Daily Maverick]
- PPE tender corruption: The Gauteng provincial government has served nine senior officials implicated in the SIU Report with suspensions linked to serious irregularities in the awarding of contractors for the refurbishment of the Anglo Gold Ashanti Hospital in the West Rand. The Gauteng provincial government spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga commended the SIU for its ongoing investigation and civil action to recover public funds that have been misappropriated. [TimesLive]
- Misconduct: Retail holding company Steinhoff claims that emails show that former chief executive officer, Marcus Jooste was part of a ‘fraudulent scheme’. The group argued in court filings that emails written by Jooste, prove he was part of a fraudulent scheme to trick the retailer out of hundreds of millions of rand. The email extracts come from Steinhoff’s court case against British businessman Malcolm King, his son, and their company, Formal Holdings. [News24]
- Markets: Stocks slid Monday and crude oil extended a rally as geopolitical risks over Ukraine rippled through global markets, supporting demand for havens such as sovereign debt, Bloomberg reported. And while many an investor expected the rand to buckle in the face of rising US Treasury yields and prospects of a more aggressive pace of Federal Reserve hikes, the currency has done the opposite, posting its fifth weekly gain out of the past six against, causing pain for those who have bet against it. On Monday, the rand was trading at R15.21/$, R17.26/€ and R20.60/£.