Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases sit at around 5 million confirmed, with 328,000 deaths. In South Africa, cases have seen another significant jump, now sitting at 19,173 confirmed, with the number of deaths also seeing its biggest climb of 30, taking the total to 369.
- Under pressure: President Cyril Ramaphosa has told opposition party leaders that he is under immense pressure from businesses and unions to open up South Africa’s economy – with calls to move quickly to level 3 and then level 2 so people can get back to work. According to insiders to the meeting, Ramaphosa didn’t commit to any timelines, but gave indication that moving to an open economy would be happening swifter. [TimesLive]
- Covid modelling: Experts have pointed out that there is a lot of variation with the actuarial modelling used to project the path ahead for South Africa and the coronavirus, making it difficult to draw any solid conclusions. Some models predict that as many as 14 million South Africans would have been infected with the virus by the end of the year, most undetected, and 3.7 million diagnosed. One area where several models agree, however, is in deaths, where at least three point to the stated 40,000 number by end November. [Daily Maverick]
- Enforcement: The SAPS has released a 12-page circular detailing the guidelines for when they are able to use force during the lockdown. The release follows a court ruling ordering it to do so. The circular warns police officers that using force for anything other than securing an arrest could lead to them being found guilty for assault or attempted murder. This includes situations where the officer wants to ‘teach someone a lesson’, or to get information out of them. [Mail & Guardian]
- Case by case: South Africa’s banks are unlikely to come together and offer industry-wide relief from the coronavirus, says Investec CEO Richard Wainwright. Instead the banking sector will continue to assess each bid for help on a case-for-case basis. This is because not all sectors have been hit the same, with some – like aviation and hospitality – being hit particularly hard. Given this, ‘blanket’ relief just wouldn’t cut it, he said. [Reuters]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand rallied on Thursday after the country’s central bank cut its main lending rate by 50 basis points, while stocks fell on concerns over the long-term impact of the new coronavirus and simmering US-China tensions. On Friday the rand is trading at R17.66 to the dollar, R21.57 to the pound and R19.31 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]