Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Load shedding: After dropping to stage 2 load shedding overnight, stage 4 load shedding will once again take effect from 09h00 today. Load shedding is expected to continue all week, with no stop time announced.
- Got you Covid: The military flight to evacuate the South African citizens stuck in Wuhan, China, has taken off. 180 South Africans in the Chinese province had initially requested to return home, but this has now dropped to 122. The flight has one stop, in the Philippines to refuel and restock, and upon landing will scan and screen the South Africans for traces of the coronavirus. When it returns to South Africa, the passengers will be quarantined for a minimum of 21 days. [Mail & Guardian]
- Data is falling: Vodacom has already announced its commitment to lower data prices and free data in South Africa – but MTN and Telkom are on “injury time” according to the Competition Commission, having missed the deadline to commit to its recommendations. The commission said that if it does not get a commitment from operators, it will have to turn to litigation, which will take some time. MTN previously said it would defend against intrusive recommendations. [Moneyweb]
- Protecting who: The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has suffered yet another major legal blow, with the High Court setting aside her report on a R500,000 Bosasa donation to president Cyril Ramaphosa. In a scathing judgement, the court said her report was beyond her scope, riddled with errors and incorrect law, and seemed determined to make adverse findings against the president with little to no evidence. The EFF, which supported Mkhwebane in the court battle, wants to appeal the judgement at the Constitutional Court. [EWN]
- Ambulance death traps: Some South African ambulances are death traps, a whistleblower has revealed, providing evidence of several groups in the country – including the local arm of car manufacturer Toyota – knowingly allowing the conversion of panel vans into passenger-carrying vehicles without following the proper, legal processes. These vehicles are being used by provincial hospitals and private groups – and when they are involved in accidents, often prove to be fatal. [MyBroadband]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand firmed on Tuesday, as emerging markets broadly recovered from heavy selling in the previous session triggered by a dive in oil prices and fears about the economic impact of the coronavirus. However, the environment remains mostly unchanged on Wednesday morning as global governments to get an idea of fiscal stimulus packages that could potentially be used to assist in staving off the economic effects of the Covid-19 virus. The rand is at R15.95 to the dollar, R20.61 to the pound and R18.08 to the euro. [XE]