Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global infections have increased to 6.25 million cases, with the death toll rising past 367,000. In South Africa, the country saw a 1,455 jump in cases taking the total confirmed to 35,812. Deaths rose to 755, and recoveries also increased to 18,313, leaving the country with 16,744 active cases.
- Court battles: While the High Court has found that some regulations issued for lockdown levels 3 and 4 are irrational, unconstitutional and invalid, the Judge Davis did not rule on matters that are facing other court challenges – such as the tobacco ban. Two cases related to the tobacco ban are ongoing, brought by free trade group FITA, and tobacco companies led by BATSA. Government, meanwhile, is doing its best to delay the case. [BusinessTech, BusinessLive]
- School blocks: If tenderpreneurs blocking deliveries of PPEs to schools wasn’t enough of a burden on government’s plans to reopen schools, the Department of Basic Education is now facing several court challenges trying to prevent learners from getting back to class – while criminals in KwaZulu Natal are targeting school districts as a source of face masks and sanitisers, further delaying the process. Schools are expected to welcome learners back on 8 June 2020. [EWN, Mail & Guardian]
- Unbanned: Helping the poor is legal again, after the Gauteng government withdrew a directive which effectively banned non-profit groups from distributing food to the needy in the province. The directive was facing a court challenge from NPO Cradle of Hope, which only wanted to give sandwiches and soup to the poor, but was blocked from doing so. Following the withdrawal, the Gauteng government was ordered to pay the group’s legal costs – and those in need can now get a warm meal. [GroundUp]
- Alcohol abuse: Alcohol has just gone back on sale and some hospitals are already reporting a surge in trauma cases related to alcohol abuse. Retailers experienced massive queues when sales opened on Monday, but now report that things have settled. It is also expected that the illicit trade, which blossomed during lockdown, will now also start to decline – however, there are supporters out there for government to rethink the unbanning of alcohol sales altogether. [Quartz]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand jumped more than 1% to a two and a half month high on Tuesday in an emerging market rally spurred by growing hopes for a global economic recovery, prompting investors to ditch safe-havens for high yielding assets. The currency ended May on the front foot, buoyed by the South African central bank’s support for the economy, including a fourth lending rate cut in as many months. On Wednesday the rand was at R17.11 to the dollar, R21.53 to the pound and R19.17 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]