Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Justice minister Ronald Lamola says that he will take calls for a referendum to reinstate the death penalty in South Africa to cabinet for discussion. Calls for those convicted of violent crime – particularly against women and children – to face the death penalty intensified this week following the death of Uyinene Mrwetyana at the hands of a Post Office worker. The ANC Women’s League has called for chemical castration as a punishment for rapists. [TimesLive]
- While South Africa’s recording of 3.1% GDP growth in the second quarter of the year is a relief, it’s by far a victory, economists warn, saying that a lot more needs to be done. CitiBank economist Gina Schoeman says the economy is not growing fast enough to sustain the population, which is leading to all the social ills we are seeing today. She said that the economy needs to be deregulated in many ways, and for the private sector to be invited in. 
- South African police arrested more than 80 people and confirmed five deaths as riots in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria intensified, spreading to surrounding townships with roving groups attacking mainly foreign-owned shops. The recent spate of xenophobic attacks has been met with outrage from other African countries and has been described as shameful for South Africa. [Reuters]
- Despite Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane withdrawing her appeal to a court ruling blocking the implementation of her remedial action against minister Pravin Gordhan, President Cyril Ramaphosa has written to the Constitutional Court asking it to review the appeal anyway. According to the president, even though he thinks the appeal will ultimately fail, he says it brings up important Constitutional questions, and he wants the matter settled once and for all. [M&G]
- South Africa’s rand firmed on Tuesday, buoyed by data showing the economy grew more than expected in the second quarter after a shock contraction previously. On the bourse, stocks were flat. On Wednesday the rand was trading at R15.08 to the dollar, R18.24 to the pound and R16.54 to the euro.