Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global infections are now at 13.07 million confirmed cases, while the death toll approaches 573,000. In South Africa, cases have climbed to 298,292, with 4,346 casualties. There have been 146,279 recoveries to date.
Power: Eskom says it will move to Stage 1 load shedding on Wednesday from 09h00, as the utility managed to return generating units to service, and has also synchronised unit 2 of the Koeberg power station to the grid.
- Schools out: Teachers union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), has resolved that schools should close amid a peak in Covid-19 cases in South Africa. The union said that schools should only be allowed to reopen once the country has passed this peak, with the group also citing concerns with the airborne nature of the virus, adding that it is not possible to open windows in classrooms during winter. [News24]
- Elections: The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty about whether South Africa will be able to hold its local government elections next year. By law, the next local government elections have to be held by no later than 1 November 2021 and the Electoral Commission says that it needs at least 86 days from when an election date is proclaimed to prepare. [eNCA]
- A wealth of problems: Finance minister Tito Mboweni says criticism of his supplementary budget is ‘misguided’ and is based on the belief that South Africa can borrow and spend itself into prosperity. Mboweni said in an opinion column for BusinessDay, that increased spending has the opposite effect and has instead raised a number of risks for the country over the last few years. [BusinessDay]
- Mantashe: Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and his wife Nolwandle Mantashe have both tested positive for Covid-19. The couple are in isolation and the minister, who received his results earlier on Tuesday, will continue to work from home. [EWN]
- Markets: US data helped to bolster some risk appetite on Tuesday, while hopes of a stimulus package in the EU saw the euro gain additional momentum against the dollar. The rand tracked the euro stronger, reaching a best of R16.65/dollar in the overnight session. On Wednesday the rand was at R16.70 to the dollar, R20.99 to the pound, and R19.03 to the euro. Commentary by Peregrine. [XE]