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 3 million, with 3,065,090 reported cases. There have been 211,620 deaths and 922,844 recoveries, leaving 1,930,626 cases active, where 56,300 are in serious or critical condition. In South Africa there are now 4,793 confirmed cases, with 90 deaths.

  • Easing pains: As South Africans await the easing of the national lockdown this coming Friday, officials have warned that not all areas will be so fortunate to see it happen. KZN premier Sihle Zikalala said that some areas of the province are so high risk that they may not be downgraded. Government’s multi-level alert plan means lcokdown levels can vary provincially and at a metropolitan level. The decision on which areas will move down to level 4 and which won’t will reportedly be made this week. [702]

  • Cluster outbreak: The Western Cape is experiencing cluster outbreaks of the coronavirus across the province, and health minister Zweli Mkhize that this serves as a preview for what will happen with the pandemic around the country in the coming weeks. Of notable concern are cluster outbreaks at medical facilities or police stations, and other places that have been deemed essential services like supermarkets. These places will be forced to shut down, to curb the spread of infection. [TimesLive]

  • Funding focus: South Africa will approach multilateral lenders like the IMF and the World Bank to raise R95 billion to contribute to the country’s R500 billion stimulus package. The IMF said South Africa is entitled to $4.2 billion in funding through its relief measures, which Treasury says it will definitely take advantage of – while the World Bank has made a $50 billion loan facility available, which South Africa will make use of. [Reuters]

  • Wealth matters: A new paper published by the United Nations University shows an estimate of how unequally wealth is distributed in the country, claiming that the 3,500 richest people in the country own the same level of wealth as the bottom 32 million.Other stark finding from the paper are that around 17.7 million South Africans owe more money than they own – meaning if they sold everything they had, they would still be in debt. [Mail & Guardian]

  • Markets: Risk assets rallied on Monday as more countries outlined plans to start easing their lockdown states. However, these economies are all still very much in lockdown, and it could take months to reach full economic activity, while the risk of a second wave of the virus remains a real threat. The rand continues to seesaw, with further short-term downside on the table as the rebalance of the World Government Bond Index (WGBI) approaches at month end. On Tuesday the rand was at R18.82 to the dollar, R23.37 to the pound and R20.37 to the euro. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today