Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global infections have pushed over 10.1 million confirmed since the start of the year, with the death toll over 501,000. In South Africa, cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, with over 6,000 new daily infections taking the country’s total to 144,264. Deaths have increased to 2,529, while recoveries have risen to 70,614, leaving a balance of 71,121 active cases.
- Jobs bloodbath: New data from the CCMA shows that a jobs bloodbath is underway in South Africa, with the group dealing with over 1,800 retrenchment cases, which affect tens of thousands of workers. The retail sector is being hardest hit, with over 23,000 jobs on the line, while around 15,000 private transport workers are also being affected by retrenchment processes. Meanwhile, the hotel industry could see almost 11,000 jobs lost. In the three months April to June, the CCMA has seen an increase of 156% in cases. [Mail & Guardian]
- Tobacco delay: Government has delayed the BATSA tobacco sales case by 6 weeks over “scheduling complications” – a vague reason that the tobacco giant described as ‘inexplicable’. This delay will lead to a continued loss in tax revenue, the group argues, adding R1.4 billion in lost taxes on top of what has already been lost due to the prolonged ban on tobacco sales. The group said that ever since the allowing of tobacco sales was announced, and then rescinded days later, it has been trying to engage with government, but has received no reply. [Moneyweb]
- Price hike likely: South Africans may be facing electricity price hikes again, after energy regulator Nersa lost its court battle with power utility Eskom over how much the group is able to recover in lost income. Nersa had initially allowed Eskom to recover R33 billion through tariff increases over three years, but Eskom argued in court that this was incorrect, as it Nersa’s calculations included promised government bailouts tied to its restructuring. Nersa will now have to recalculate the amounts Eskom can recover. [Reuters]
- WHO warning: The World Health Organisation has warned that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic has yet to come, noting that despite some countries showing progress in fighting the virus, and a global scale, infections are accelerating. Six months in, the virus has infected over 10.1 million people, and killed over 500,000. Positively, more than half (5.6 million) have recovered. However, the WHO said that there is no quick fix, and countries will have to continue working hard to handle the pandemic “for the long haul”. [ENCA]
- Markets: The rand steadied against the dollar on Monday as the spread of the coronavirus at home and around the world dampened optimism over a swift economic recovery. Rising global Covid-19 cases and the re-imposition of restrictions by certain states in the US to stop the spread has seen the risk-off sentiment from Friday continue. Investors are looking to safe-haven assets as talk of a double dip in the US economy is doing the rounds. On Tuesday the rand is at R17.26 to the dollar, R21.24 to the pound and R19.40 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]