Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 cases have moved up to 6.13 million confirmed, with the death toll sitting at 371,000. In South Africa, another sizeable jump in cases of 1,674 has taken the total number to 34,357, with 705 deaths. Recoveries have also increased to 17,291, leaving the country with 16,361 active cases.
- Opportunists: Tenderpreneurship rears its ugly head even in a global pandemic, with reports pointing to fights over who gets to distribute personal protection equipment to schools being one of the reasons for the the delay in them reopening. Local PPE suppliers have reportedly blocked delivery of PPEs to schools, seeking access to lucrative contracts. Government says it did look local, but suppliers failed to meet deadlines or couldn’t fulfil the orders, so it used more capable companies. [Mail & Guardian]
- Backlog: The Eastern Cape faces a growing backlog in its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with logistic issues delaying the delivery of much needed test kits – while around 20,000 test results are yet to be delivered to citizens. The delay is now sitting at three weeks, while the province is sitting with the second highest infection rate of up to 5%, after the Western Cape. Government is trying to intervene to speed processes along, but a global shortage of test kits is making matters more difficult. [Daily Maverick]
- Back to crime: Security companies have warned that crime levels are expected to surge as South Africa moves to lockdown level 3, as criminals get back to their normal patterns of operating. Police data has shown that crime levels have slowly been returning to ‘normal’ levels as lockdown restrictions have eased, with security companies saying the trend will continue. They expect a rise in both serious and petty crimes such as household robberies, cash-in-transit heists, theft, and the hijacking of vehicles. [MyBroadband]
- New SAA: The Department of Public Enterprises says that it has not yet discussed the draft plan to establish a new national airline – which would require R21 billion in funding to set up. Opposition parties said that government had already committed to paying the money – however the DPE denied this, saying that it will review the plan and seek possible funding options, but no decision has been made yet. [Reuters]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand firmed more than 1% on Monday, lifted by hopes of economic recoveries at home and abroad as more countries eased coronavirus lockdowns. Stocks rose as factories, restaurants, mines and shopping malls reopened and millions returned to work. On Tuesday the rand was at R17.40 to the dollar, R21.72 to the pound and R19.36 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]