5 important things happening in South Africa today

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

Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases have passed the 2 million mark, with 2,000,066 reported cases, and 126,754 deaths. 484,597 people have recovered from the virus, but 1,388,715 cases remain active, of which 51,603 are in a serious or critical condition. In South Africa, case numbers have increased to 2,415. Reported deaths are still at 27.

  • Covid Crisis: The USA has taken the lead in Covid-19 coronavirus deaths (now toping Italy, at over 26,000 deaths), as global infections pass the 2 million mark. US president Donald Trump is placing the blame squarely at the feet of the World Health Organisation, accusing it of mishandling the situation and not doing enough to combat it, and has pulled funding to the United Nations body. The US is the biggest contributor to the WHO budget. [Enca]

  • Economic decline: Projections over South Africa’s GDP numbers for 2020 continue to sink on the back of an extended lockdown and uncertainty over the global coronavirus pandemic. The South African Reserve Bank’s projections have jumped from a 0.2% contraction to a 6.1% contraction, while the International Monetary Fund is also seeing a marked decline in 2020, now predicting a GDP contraction of 5.8% for the country. [EWN]

  • Addressing alcohol: President Ramaphosa will address industry concerns over the sale of alcohol during the lockdown. This, after his legal team asked the Gauteng Liquor Forum to wait until the end of business on Friday before pursuing a legal challenge against the ban. The forum represents township shebeens and taverns. Ramaphosa is meeting with the National Command Council to discuss issues like this, which could result in the ban being lifted, or more economic support being doled out. [Moneyweb]

  • No money for SAA: SAA’s business rescue practitioners have been told by government that the airline won’t receive additional money for the rescue efforts. The administrators said they received a letter from government saying as much, adding that lending guarantees will also not be provided in respect of the business rescue process. The public enterprises ministry said in a statement it was still exploring options for SAA. [Reuters]

  • Markets: SARB now estimates that the SA economy will contract by 6.1% in 2020, revised downwards from the previous 4% contraction on the back of the lockdown extension. Meanwhile National Treasury continues to look at additional support measures for small business and households that are suffering loss of income as a result of the lockdown. The rand held steady in the overnight session after its move weaker yesterday morning, trading at R18.31 to the dollar, R23.07 to the pound and R20.09 to the euro. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today