Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus infections have now hit 14.7 million, with over 610,000 deaths. In South Africa, numbers have continued to rapidly climb, with another 8,170 cases reported overnight, taking the country’s total to 381,798. There have been 5,368 deaths, and 208,144 recoveries, leaving a balance of 168,286 active cases.
- No savings: South Africa’s savings, which are already extremely low due a poor saving culture in the country, are expected to hit record lows in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report shows. Global savings average at 25% of GDP, whereas in South Africa, this reached lows of 14.4% and 14.6% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Experts said the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns put severe pressure on households, and this rate is likely to be significantly lower in 2020. [Moneyweb]
- Schools verdict: Unions say they expect a rapid response from government over their proposal to close schools – hoping for an answer by the end of the week. The unions have presented their proposal to the education department, which will now be mulled over by cabinet and National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC). As the call for schools to close gains traction, others have argued that it is not in the best interests of children, or their parents who have to return to work, to do so. [ENCA, DM]
- Happiness: The latest happiness index shows that South Africans are really worried about job losses in the country – while general sentiment has dropped significantly due to a continued ban on cigarettes and alcohol. The researchers noted that while the ‘stay at home’ aspect of lockdown initially made people unhappy, sentiment around this has actually shifted and is starting to trend upward. This means people are becoming more content staying and working from home. 
- Trucking: The trucking strike has entered into its third week as organisations in the sector keep pushing for foreign workers to be booted out of the industry. Incidents of violence and intimidation related to the strike are happening in Mpumalanga, Cape Town and KwaZulu Natal. The organisations leading the strikes say that, with exemption to special circumstances (like cross-border freight), local companies are breaking the law by hiring foreign drivers, which is costing local drivers their jobs and livelihoods. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand rallied more than 1% on Tuesday in a broad emerging market advance on perkier risk appetite after European Union leaders agreed a $862 billion fund to prop up their coronavirus-hit economies. The rand continued to brush aside negative local news, following the euro stronger in a day marked by little economic data. On Wednesday, the rand was at R16.40 to the dollar, R20.85 to the pound and R18.92 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]