Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus infections are approaching 6.8 million cases, with over 386,000 deaths. In South Africa, the largest daily increase has been recorded, with 3,267 new cases taking the country’s total up to 40,792. Deaths have jumped to 848, while recoveries have also increased to 21,311, leaving the country with 18,633 active cases.
- Appeal: Government will appeal the High Court ruling that found its lockdown rules to be invalid and unconstitutional. While the exact grounds of the appeal are yet to be filed, minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says he believes another court will reach a different conclusion. The minister argues that the regulations shouldn’t be questioned because they saved lives, and government will continue to make regulations that save lives. [EWN]
- Alcohol ban: Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane expressed concern over long queues at liquor stores and the subsequent rise in trauma cases at hospitals following the opening of alcohol sales this week, and said if it continues, the province would be left with no choice but to lobby government for the ban on alcohol to be reinstated. Alcohol sales in South Africa surged this week, but are now again on hold until Monday, in line with the country’s lockdown regulations. [TimesLive]
- Schools: SA’s plight to get schools ready to receive children by Monday 8 June continues – millions of rands worth of protective equipment which was reported stolen in KZN has mysteriously turned up; but schools in other parts of the country have had to be closed down this week after teachers tested positive for Covid-19. The schools are in the Eastern Cape and North-West Province. Teachers returned to work in the last week of May. [702, Mail & Guardian]
- Smoking ban: COGTA minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has asked the courts to keep the country-wide smoking ban in place, even if it finds that the decision making process that led to it being implemented was unlawful. The minister submitted her response to the court challenge against the ban. She said that it would be best to keep the ban in place, while being sent back to her for “reconsideration” with specific direction on what she should look at to make it lawful. The matter will be heard next week. [BusinessLive – paywall]
- Markets: The rand rallied in line with the euro on Thursday, as broad-based weakness saw softer safe haven assets losing flows to riskier assets and wide-ranging economic recovery optimism still dominating the theme in the markets. On Friday the rand was at R16.86 to the dollar, R21.26 to the pound and R19.13 to the euro. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]