5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Coronavirus: As of Tuesday,there are 785,807 reported cases of coronavirus infection in the world, with 37,820 deaths. 165,659 people have recovered, but 582,328 cases remain active, with 29,488 in serious or critical condition. In South Africa, there are 1,326 confirmed cases, with 3 deaths.


  • Door-to-door testing: A 10,000-strong workforce will move door-to-door in high-risk areas, visiting homes in villages, towns and cities to screen residents for Covid-19 symptoms. People with symptoms will be referred to local clinics or mobile clinics for testing. People who are infected with Coronavirus, but who have no or moderate symptoms will remain in isolation at home or at a facility provided by government and those with severe symptoms will be transferred to hospitals. [BusinessTech]

  • Depression: Business Unity SA deputy president Martin Kingston says that South Africa won’t just go through a regular recession, but faces a structural depression. He says that South Africa has already been in a recession for some time, and with the coronavirus crisis added on top of things (along with the lockdown), the country is likely to see massive unemployment, and an extremely drawn out recovery. He said he doesn’t see a U-shaped or V-shaped recovery but a more L-shaped recovery which is going to take an extended period of time. [702]

  • Arrests: Arrests for breaking lockdown have reached over 1,100, according to police minister Bheki Cele, linked to 200 incidents. Some reported cases include taverns staying open, drunk driving, and people wandering about without reason. “In three days, we arrested 1,108 people. We will continue to nudge them towards compliance. We will push them when the need comes. The regulations that are there must be respected,” Cele said. [EWN]

  • Retail pain: Commerical retail landlords are acutely aware of the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on all retailers in the country – but any relief that might hit the market should be aimed at helping small businesses they said, who will hardest-hit. The CEOs said that a unilateral stopping of rents by retailers would collapse shopping malls and other commercial centres. Large retailers that have been forced to close are also taking major pain- such as Edcon, whose CEO said the group may not survive the lockdown. [Moneyweb]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand hit an all-time low on Monday after ratings firm Moody’s removed the country’s last investment grade credit rating and downgraded it to “junk” status – although the selloff did not deepen as some expected. The rand continued to trade in a broad range of R17.77 – R18.08/$ yesterday and overnight. This was as markets digested not only the Moody’s downgrade, but also the additional fiscal measures that government announced it would be deploying. On Tuesday the rand was at R17.95 to the dollar, R22.14 to the pound and R19.78 to the euro. [XE]

Load shedding: Demand remains low due to the lockdown, and load shedding is still not expected as a result.

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5 important things happening in South Africa today