Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases have passed 6 million confirmed, with around 370,000 deaths world wide. In South Africa, the country saw another sizeable jump in cases of 1,716, taking the running total to 32,683, with 683 deaths. There have also been 16,803 recoveries, leaving us with 15,197 active cases.
- Level 3 too late: As millions of South Africans return to work today with the country entering into lockdown level 3, for many it is already too late. Some companies have been hit so hard during the last 9 weeks of high level lockdown that their business are left with no choice but to shut down. Companies in logistics, construction and the informal sector are some of the hardest-hit, with many having been forced to retrench employees. Analysts have projected between 1 and 4 million job losses as a result of the lockdown. [TimesLive]
- School matters: Confusion persists around getting back to school in South Africa after the Department of Basic Education postponed the start date for the first batch of learners in grade 7 and 12 by a week (to 8 June). The delay follows consultations with stakeholders at the weekend, who said schools are not yet ready to resume classes. However, the Western Cape has now defied the department’s delay, encouraging learners to return to school as planned. DBE minister Angie Motshekga will brief the country on the matter on Monday morning. [Daily Maverick]
- That settles it: The Constitutional Court has settled a burning question around the office of the Public Protector and interdicts relating to its remedial action – can PP reports be put on ice while the parties take the matter to court? Yes they can, is the answer. The ConCourt said that putting the action on hold didn’t interfere with the Public Protector’s powers, as they had already been executed in compiling the report being challenged. [Mail & Guardian]
- Power price shock: Users of prepaid electricity in the City of Johannesburg are in for a nasty price shock if proposed adjustments are put through. The city wants to introduce a new R200 base fee for users (R400 for business users), while also reducing the lowest usage block. This means all prepaid users will now have to pay a monthly fee irrespective of their usage patters, while they are also likely to reach the higher cost usage blocks a lot faster. [Moneyweb]
- Markets: This weekend saw Donald Trump withdraw from the WHO, following the manner in which the health body dealt with the Covid-19 outbreak. The tensions between the US and China remain at centre stage as we enter this week, and any escalation will see the rand give up some of its recent gains. Eyes are also on the unfolding riots in the US. Waters are currently calm for the local unit, on Monday trading at R17.44 to the dollar, R21.62 to the pound and R19.42 to the euro. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]