Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 25.5 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 851,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,218 new cases, taking the total reported to 628,259. Deaths have reached 14,263 (an increase of 114), while recoveries have climbed to 549,993, leaving the country with a balance of 64,003 active cases.
Load shedding: Eskom’s system is still severely constrained. Load shedding will be implemented from 08h00 to 22h00 on Wednesday.
- Healthcare worker crisis: A policy document acquired by Spotlight shows that South Africa is heading for a healthcare worker crisis, which will require billions of rands to address, if the country wants to ensure that there are enough doctors, nurses and specialists to tend to the growing population. The document shows that the country already has a shortfall of workers in the sector, and by 2025 the country will need between 88,000 and 97,000 additional workers to meet demand. They would cost an additional R40 billion to employ. [Spotlight]
- Day of action: The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says it will move ahead with its planned ‘day of action’ this week, despite not receiving permission from municipalities to march. The union said it was prepared to face arrest for its right to demonstrate. Members are expected to hand over a memorandum to the office of the president, demanding safer working conditions. Further action is expected later in the month. [EWN]
- School problems: Over 45,000 school kids are staying away from class, having been granted exemption due to fears over Covid-19. The majority (35,000) were given permission to stay away, with a further 10,000 declaring comorbidities. Worryingly, over 20,600 teachers have been granted concessions to work from home, but only 6,400 substitutes could be found to replace them. Other alarming estimates from the provinces are that 52,100 grade 7s and 23,300 matrics will drop out of school this year, due to the disruptions. [TimesLive]
- Corruption watch: Cosatu General-Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali says that the federations warnings to the ANC over corruption related to Covid-19 tenders fell on deaf ears. The ANC is in damage control over corruption within its ranks, with a seemingly fresh ‘zest’ for rooting out those who have corruption charges against them. However, despite this position, the party remains mum on some of its high profile members who are reportedly on the chopping block – such as home affairs portfolio committee chairperson Bongani Bongo. [Enca, Mail & Guardian]
- Markets: The rand remains rangebound, as the dominant themes and the environment continue unchanged. Locally, Ramaphosa seems to be taking a firm grip on the ruling party following the NEC meeting over the weekend. Some analysts have forecast a rand recovery heading into end-year, despite signs of deep recession due to Covid-19, citing high yield for the currency. On Wednesday the rand is at R16.64 tot he dollar, R19.81 to the euro and R22.25 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]