5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 21.5 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 766,000. In South Africa, there have been 3,692 new cases, taking the total reported to 587,345. Deaths have reached 11,839, while recoveries have climbed to 472,377, leaving the country with a balance of 103,129 active cases.

Load shedding: Eskom has warned that its system will be severely constrained this week, due to 8 generating units being lost. No load shedding has been announced, but could be implemented at any time.

  • Damage done: While South Africa moves to lockdown level 2 this week, analysts say it’s too little, too late, with the damage to the economy has been done. A new survey shows that around 3 million people have lost their jobs as a result of the lockdown, while economists are sceptical about government’s purported plans to ‘save the economy’ through infrastructure projects, which are yet to be detailed outside of vague promises. Citing years of such plans that to be followed through, doubts persist. [EWN]

  • Tobacco fight still on: Fair trade group Fita says it will continue its court fight against government over the tobacco ban, despite the prohibition being lifted with the move to lockdown level 2. The group says that despite the president’s announcement, the regulations are yet to be published, and history serves as a reminder that government could easily reverse the decision within a couple of days. The court battle would also set a precedent for future regulation changes that could see tobacco sales banned again. [702]

  • New elections: A panel of experts are trying to get to grips with how South Africa could possible change its election systems – as the country is forced to change how it votes in very little time. The election process could look very different when South Africans vote in 2024, with the IEC and government given only 24 months to change things around. The current proportional representation system is fair, but gives parties a lot of power over candidates. However, debate rages over which system could be best to replace it, if any. [Daily Maverick]

  • Power grab: Internal ANC documents show the party wants to give its chief whip in parliament more power and control over the happenings of parliament – in a move opposition parties have labelled a power grab. The document, seen by the Sunday Times, outlines a proposal that would see the political role of chief whip of the majority in parliament take on more institutional administrative responsibilities, giving them power over opposition parties and even cabinet. [TimesLive]

  • Markets: The weekend announcement of SA’s move to lockdown Level 2 has brought much relief to South Africans – however, markets continue to be driven by sentiment around the US. The US-China phase one trade deal review has been postponed, leaving the deal intact for the time being. The market’s focus now turns to the US Federal Reserve meeting minutes and US politics. On Monday the rand is at R17.37 to the dollar, R20.59 to the euro and R22.75 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today