Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- South Africa’s new driving demerit system will come into effect in June 2020, according to transport minister, Fikile Mbalula. He said that the system will fundamentally change driving in South Africa, and will have zero tolerance for drunk driving, which is something of a crisis in the country. Over 24,000 motorists were arrested for drunk driving over the festive season. Along with the demerit system, government will take action against unroadworthy vehicles. [Enca]
- An analysis of Eskom’s finances lays bare the deep crisis the company finds itself in, claiming that the group is simply in financial ruin, and – if it were an option – liquidating the business would likely be impossible. Despite operating in a forced monopoly by the state, in a market that is extremely lucrative, where prices are not elastic, mismanagement, corruption and pure incompetence has driven the company into the ground. [City Press]
- The Department of Health says that all port health authorities will have enhanced surveillance for all travellers from Asia, especially China, following an outbreak of coronavirus in the region. OR Tambo International Airport will also ramp up measures to screen passengers due to the increased risk of the virus spreading. The current outbreak of the virus has led to 830 confirmed cases, and 25 deaths. It is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China. Symptoms are flu-like, similar to SARS and MERS. [Reuters]
- The state capture commission will not be halted or obstructed by former president Jacob Zuma and his friends, the Guptas, not showing up. Even though Zuma and the Guptas are seen as central figures in state capture, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo says that the commission will continue without them. The commission already has testimony from over 150 people, and 27,000 pages of information. While hearing from Zuma and the Guptas is important, it’s ultimately their choice whether or not to provide their side of the story. [IOL]
- South Africa’s rand and stocks fell on Thursday, as world markets dropped on mounting concern over a coronavirus outbreak in China. The rand’s losses ate into some of the gains made on Wednesday, when demand for riskier assets had rebounded. While it has struggled with a weak economy and rolling power cuts, on Thursday the rand largely reflected trends on global markets. On Friday the rand was at R14.38 to the dollar, R18.87 to the pound and R15.89 to the euro.