Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases have hit the 7 million mark, with the death toll over 400,000. In South Africa, two milestones have been hit – total infections have shot past 50,000, now sitting at 50,879, while deaths have also pushed past the 1,000 mark at 1,080. Recoveries have reached 26,099, leaving the country with 23,700 active cases.
- Tourism return: A tourism association says the South African tourism sector will have to open up in or as close to September 2020 in order to save in-bound tourism revenue for the 2021 financial year. It is calling on government to allow in-bound international tourism by then, with certain precautions being put in place, and a commitment from the industry to adhere to hygiene and social distancing protocols. Certain Covid-19 models put South Africa’s peak infections in September, however. [TimesLive]
- School kids: Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chair of the medical advisory panel to government, says that the return of children to schools is unlikely to have a significant impact on the spread pattern of the coronavirus in South Africa, as children have already shown to be less susceptible to the virus. He said that South Africans need to learn how to return to normal life amid the virus, which could be with us for months, if not years. [ENCA]
- Regulations battle: Government is finally taking the many court cases against its lockdown regulations seriously, with Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma filing a 103-page affidavit explaining the reasoning behind every lockdown decision. The move comes as government faces court challenges for several regulations, and follows a High Court ruling that lockdown level 3 and 4 regulations were unconstitutional and invalid. [Business Day – paywall]
- Scuppered: A key document in the Public Protector and the EFF’s war against Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has been reviewed and set aside by the courts, backfiring the plan to have it published publicly. The report was originally used as the basis for the renewed 2019 SARS ‘rogue unit’ claims against Gordhan and others by the Public Protector. Initially redacted, the EFF put it in the public domain through unrelated court action. The report, and the investigation it is based on, has now been trashed. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand inched firmer on Monday as hopes of a rapid global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic continued to feed risk appetite. The domestic currency continues to strengthen as it reflects improving global financial market sentiment, with the latest economic data to support improving risk-on investor attitude being the unexpected drop that occurred in the US unemployment rate. On Tuesday the rand is at R16.73 to the dollar, R21.26 to the pound and R18.88 to the euro. Commentary via Reuters. [XE]