5 important things happening in South Africa today

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

Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases have increased to 2,638,852 with 184,248 deaths. 722,039 people have recovered, but 1,732,565 cases remain open, with 56,678 people in serious or critical condition. In South Africa, government has confirmed 3,635 cases, with deaths up to 65.

  • More support: The USA has committed another R250 million to South Africa to aid it in fighting against the coronavirus. This is on top of the R160 million it committed earlier, bring thing total aid from the US to R410 million. The funding will be used for surveillance and lab support; operational support; border support; vaccine preparedness; and special studies on the virus, among others. [US Embassy]

  • Words of praise: The World Health Organisation has praised South Africa’s response to the coroanvirus pandemic, saying that the country has done an impressive job bringing the virus under control. Despite the rise in cases in deaths over the last few days, the country has still managed to ‘flatten the curve’, with current infection rates far below initial projections. The WHO warned, however, that globally, the path to recovery was still a long way off, as cases around the world continue to rise at alarming levels. [ENCA]

  • Massive deployment: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to deploy over 73,000 members of the army has raised eyebrows and many worries – especially considering the president ignored the entire process usually required in making the process. Adhering to the separation of powers, the president (executive) needs to inform parliament (legislative) of the move, which then needs to be deliberated and discussed. In this instance, the president sent a one-page letter after the decision had already been taken. [Daily Maverick]

  • Riots and unrest: While most South Africans have adhered to the lockdown, some communities have been driven into the streets in protest out of desperation. This has also brought out criminal elements. Police and residents had a stand-off in the Western Cape as residents in Delft, Philippi East, Elsies River and Vredenburg closed roads, looted shops and food delivery trucks this week. Arrests have been made, and one person was shot and killed, allegedly by police. The matter is under investigation. [TimesLive]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand edged weaker on Wednesday as optimism over the R500 billion rand rescue package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday gave way to concerns about economic growth. Traders are anxious to see whether South Africa will issue more debt into a crowded market and how the government plans to plug the large fiscal deficit in the future. On Thursday, the rand was trading at R18.95 to the dollar, R23.44 to the pound and R20.52 to the euro. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today