Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 27.1 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 889,000. In South Africa, there have been 854 new cases, taking the total reported to 639,362. Deaths have reached 15,004 (an increase of 115), while recoveries have climbed to 566,555, leaving the country with a balance of 57,803 active cases.
Load shedding: As some units have returned since last night, there will be no load shedding between 08h00 and 16h00. Stage 1 load shedding will commence from 16h00 to 22h00.
- Tax revolt: SARS says that tax collections in August were down 20% in August, with a R60 billion shortfall. The shortfall was due to a drop in economic activity and lower compliance from taxpayers. Commissioner Edward Kieswetter appealed to South Africans to not ‘fiddle with’ their taxes, even though he understands that some may feel justified to do so out of frustration over government waste and corruption. However, he said that doing so would harm the poorest and most vulnerable in society. [Moneyweb]
- GDP plunge: Stats SA will publish the latest GDP figures today, showing how South Africa’s economy performed under the nationwide lockdown. Economists expect a massive decline in GDP, deepening the country’s recession. The expected decline is in the range of 40% to 50%, with the SARB’s own projections at 40.1%. Adding to the bleak mood are continued power cuts by power utility Eskom, which is struggling to meet demand because of faults at its power stations. [BusinessTech]
- Clicks shutdown: Protesters egged on by the EFF damaged seven Clicks stores and forced 445 others to close down over digital adverts which were perceived to be racist. The EFF is campaigning to have the stores shut down for the rest of the week. Clicks, and the shampoo company that supplied the adverts, have apologised and taken action against those responsible for the ads – however, this has been ignored and brushed aside by the EFF, which continues to rally its supporters on the issue. [Reuters]
- Learning issues: Students are struggling to cope with the fallout of the Covid-19 lockdown, which forced many to vacate residences and left them without the necessary tools to continue their studies remotely. Students are speaking out on the challenges, including not getting access to promised laptops and internet access, and not being able to afford data costs to work from home. Aside from logistic issues in delivering equipment, there has also been a notable lack of digital literacy to effectively work remotely. [TimesLive]
- Markets: The rand fell on Monday as investors dumped the currency ahead of GDP data being published on Tuesday. The dollar is steadily gaining momentum as the European Central Bank meeting comes into focus, following concerns expressed by the central bank regarding the strong euro. The rand starts Tuesday on weaker terrain at R16.74 to the dollar, R19.75 to the euro and R22.00 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]