Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 22.4 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 788,000. In South Africa, there have been 3,880 new cases, taking the total reported to 599,940. Deaths have reached 12,618 (an increase of 195), while recoveries have climbed to 497,169, leaving the country with a balance of 90,153 active cases.
Load shedding: Generating units have been restored and load shedding has been suspended. No load shedding is expected on Friday or for the rest of the weekend.
- Scrapped: The controversial Road Accident Benefit Scheme – which was set to replace the insolvent Road Accident Fund – has been scrapped by parliament, after the portfolio committee on transport was convinced that it would be too expensive to implement, and would be anti-poor. The RABS would have cost over R320 billion to implement, and its “no-fault” system of compensation would have paid out to people who caused road accidents – including drunk drivers. [Moneyweb]
- Still struggling: As soon as local tourism passes one hurdle, another comes up. With inter-provincial leisure travel now allowed under lockdown level 2, hotels and venues still report a severe struggle to stay operational, as many rely on international tourism, which is still closed. For these businesses, unfortunately the road to recovery is going to be much longer – and in the meantime, the threat of job cuts and closure still hangs over them. [TimesLive]
- Bank aid: South African banks have given voluntary relief on loans to individuals and corporates of up to R537 billion during the coronavirus pandemic so far. Besides temporary loan relief, the banks have disbursed 14% of the R100 billion loan guarantee scheme announced by the government in May, to the benefit of almost 10,000 businesses. 15,000 applications are still under process. They are also seeing one of their worst crises in ages with rising bad loans and hefty impairment charges in an economy which was already in recession before the pandemic. [Reuters]
- Back-bencher: The ANC says it’s fully aware of the corruption charges against Zandile Gumede, but her recent appointment to the KZN legislature is okay because she hasn’t been found guilty in court yet, and her new role is as back-bencher learning new skills. Gumede, the former mayor of eThekwini, is facing charges relating to alleged tender fraud involving R420 million in contracts. She was recalled from her position as mayor, not for the charges against her, but for governance issues. Despite this, the ANC in KZN said it is very happy to have her. 
- Markets: The general market themes remain unaltered as the week draws to an end. Ongoing concerns regarding the US economy, reinforced by fresh disappointing jobs data, continue to see the dollar under pressure while gold retains its status as the safe haven asset of choice. The rand continues to benefit from a weak dollar, trading at R17.24 to the dollar, R20.46 to the euro and R22.80 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]