Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections are at around 20.1 million confirmed, with a death toll over 736,000. In South Africa, 2,511 new cases have been recorded, taking the total confirmed to 566,109, with deaths at 10,751. There have been 426,125 recoveries, leaving a balance of 129,233 active cases.
- Load shedding risk: Eskom CEO says that there is always the risk of load shedding with the current state of the grid, but that in the coming weeks and months, this risk will be elevated, as the outages are needed to conduct maintenance on the system. This type of volatility is expected to last until September 2021 at the very least, he said, though he noted that he believes the group has done a good job handling things so far. [ENCA]
- Calibrations: Expired calibration for equipment at South Africa’s airports are making things riskier for pilots to land planes in the country, with the safety measures having to be taken offline to work on them. Notices sent out to pilots landing at OR Tambo have warned of landing instruments being switched off due to having expired – and have stayed that way beyond the 6 month extension. The same has reportedly happened at other major airports in the country. [MyBroadband]
- Covid vaccines: Two more Covid-19 vaccine trials will take place in South Africa, with a Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a Novavax vaccine joining the Oxford vaccine trials which started in June. Over 12,000 South Africans will take part in all the trials. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial is the first phase three trial in the country, and will start in September. The Novavax trial is the same level as the Oxford trial (phase two-b) with plans to hopefully move to phase three trials also in September. [Daily Maverick]
- Protecting herself: Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is heading to court, seeking an interdict to block Parliament from removing her from her office. Mkhwebane also wants the rules in place for her removal to be reviewed. The laws allow for her removal on the basis of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence – however, she argues that litigation against her cannot be used as evidence of this. She says National Assembly must make the decision itself. [TimesLive]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand recovered on Tuesday as risk appetite improved, having fallen to its weakest in nearly 12 weeks the previous day. While the rand has gained somewhat, it still remains at high risk of volatility, as global financial risk sentiment does. Concerns continue to centre on the prospect for global economic recovery, and particularly for the US economy. On Wednesday the rand is at at R17.54 to the dollar, R20.58 to the euro and R22.88 to the pound. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]