Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- South Africa’s medical schemes regulator, the CMS, is scrapping low-cost medical aid options in the country. The body said that low-cost medical aid schemes target low-income markets, and put these members on government hospital networks – but they haven’t made the necessary agreements with those hospitals, and also lack prescribed minimum benefits. The move to scrap the options is a part of a process to remove low-quality benefit options in the country. [CMS]
- The move to put SAA into urgent business rescue was reportedly a last-minute call by Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan – to stop the airline from announcing it was entering into voluntary liquidation, which could have led to cross defaults among all state companies. In that scenario, lenders could have called in all government guarantees, which would see government having to pay off R579 billion worth of debt, including Eskom’s. [Mail & Guardian]
- Eskom was forced to continue load shedding overnight, with rotational blackouts finally stopping at 05h00 – six hours after it initially scheduled the stop. The power utility lost more generating units overnight, necessitating the extension. It said that stage 2 load shedding will continue from 09h00 on Friday to 06h00 on Saturday. [Eskom]
- The DA has suffered another blow, with its mayor in Tshwane, Stevens Mokgalapa, removed from the position following a vote of no confidence in the metro. Mokgalapa was voted out with 111 votes cast by the EFF and ANC councilors, while the DA councillors abstained from the proceeding. The DA will challenge the removal in court. The ANC this week took back the City of Joburg from the DA, while the party was ousted in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2018. [IOL]
- South Africa’s rand was weaker on Thursday. Data from the central bank on Thursday showed the country’s current account deficit has narrowed slightly but less than expected, while a measure of monthly business confidence showed businesses are still struggling with the tough economic climate and slack demand. On Friday the rand was at R14.64 to the dollar, R19.26 to the pound and R16.26 to the euro.