Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections are now over 10.6 million confirmed since the start of the year, with the death toll climbing to 516,000. In South Africa, another alarming daily increase takes the country’s total to 168,061, with deaths up to 2,844. Recoveries also increased to 81,999, leaving a balance of 83,218 active cases.
- Gauteng health scare: Gauteng hospitals are starting to feel the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly with the availability of hospital beds, according to reports. The province is now experiencing daily increases of over 3,000 new cases. If these numbers persists, it will triple the province’s number of infections by the end of the month, with some projecting that it will hit 300,000 by the end of August. 3 993 new cases were reported in the province on 2 July. 
- School daze: A rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in South Africa has pushed the Department of Basic Education to delay many grades from returning to school next week, with only grades R, 6 and 11 set to return on 6 July. Despite the delays, the department is still coming under fire from critics for pushing kids back to school at all, saying it is like sending them into a fire. The department says that life has to go on, however, and that most kids should be back at school by the end of the month. [EWN]
- Admin issues: The threat of being placed into administration hangs over the head of the City of Joburg, as the municipality failed to pass a budget in time for the new financial year. A municipality cannot spend any money without an approved budget, as it would be recorded as irregular expenditure. The delay is due to the need for party consultations which has been hampered by Covid-19. The council is a hung municipality led by an ANC-coalition, with no single party majority. [TimesLive]
- Retrenchments: More tough time for workers in South Africa as TERS payments to assist with Covid-19 have come to an end at the end of June, which is expected to see a flood of new cases to land at the CCMA. The group already reports retrenchment cases almost tripling since last year. Cases representing over 105,000 workers have already landed. Meanwhile, four unions are ready to accept SAA’s retrenchment packages. However three are still holding out as the business rescue plan gets reassessed. [M&G, ENCA]
- Markets: The dominant sentiment of market optimism remains intact, with little change as this week draws to a close. The rand, along with other emerging market currencies, rallied on the back of strong data and global economic prospects, outweighing any risks in the horizon. Some liquidity constraints are expected today as the United States celebrates Independence Day. On Friday the rand is at R16.97 to the dollar, R21.15 to the pound and R19.06 to the euro. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]