5 important things happening in South Africa today

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

Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases have hit 2,407,414, with 165,073 deaths. 625,199 people have recovered, but 1,617,142 cases remain active, where 54,222 people are in serious or critical condition. In South Africa 3,158 people have confirmed to have had the virus, with 54 deaths. 903 South Africans have recovered from the virus.

  • Hot topic: Woolworths has sought legal opinion on government’s latest ban on the sale of hot food, with law firm Webber Wenztel finding that the current regulations make no reference to the prohibition of the sale of any food. This echoes the sentiments of other legal experts who have noted that the current regulations broadly state that all food remains an essential product. Last week, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel told shops to shut down their hot food stations. [BusinessLive]

  • Stimulus: President Cyril Ramaphosa is reportedly considering a R1 trillion stimulus package to help non-essential economic sectors which have been forced to shut down during the country’s lockdown. The package,which would target certain parts of the manufacturing, retail, hospitality and tourism sectors, was discussed – and supported – at a Nedlac meeting held last week. It is expected to be discussed by the economic cluster in cabinet today. [Daily Maverick]

  • SAA collapse: Unions are not happy with the imminent collapse of SAA, and are trying to work their way around it – however, they are quickly running out of time, with indications being that the airline only has enough to keep operating until the end of April. The airline wants to offer all 4,700 employees retrenchment packages, which would guarantee they get some payment before creditors move in. However, unions are rejecting the offer, pitching alternative plans, or steering clear of the process altogether. [Moneyweb]

  • Alcohol sales: The Gauteng Liquor Forum has put its legal action against the president for the ban on alcohol sales on ice – for now. This after the president rejected the call for alcohol to be added to the list of essential items allowed to be sold in the country. The forum has now given the president until 23 April to detail his future plans regarding the lockdown, before again considering its legal options. The president linked alcohol sales and consumption to criminal elements that he does not want to thrive during lockdown. [702]

  • Markets: The rand starts the week on the back foot. All bets are on the US to reopen the economy soon, while many countries are still scrambling in the fight against the virus. Sentiment will yet again determine the course of markets this week, with all eyes on the US and the ramping up of the economy. On Monday the rand is at R18.80 to the dollar, R23.47 to the pound and R20.44 to the euro. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today