Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 29.3 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 929,000. In South Africa, there have been 772 new cases, taking the total reported to 651,521. Deaths have reached 15,641 (an increase of 142), while recoveries have climbed to 583,126, leaving the country with a balance of 52,754 active cases.
- Zimbabwe flights: The ANC has admitted fault in the latest scandal involving a delegation of party officials using a SANDF aircraft to travel to Zimbabwe on party business. The party said this was ‘unusual’ and that it will reimburse the state for the cost of the flights. It remains unclear how it came to be that the delegation were permitted to use official state channels to conduct party business, but a report has been handed to president Cyril Ramaphosa on the matter. [ANC]
- SAA out of time: South African Airways’ business rescue practitioners say the airline is out of time. Thursday marks the final day the group is able to survive without the funding needed from government to reboot the company. If funding is not secured, the group said it would have to call a creditor meeting on Friday. 3,000 of 5,000 SAA employees have accepted retrenchment packages, but have been left in the lurch with no money available to pay these out. [TimesLive]
- E-toll management: Sanral has re-issued a tender for a contract to manage the e-toll system in Gauteng, with the deadline set for today. The contract is for the management of the system’s transaction clearing and violations processing, and was issued as no further clarity from government on the future of e-tolls has been forthcoming. The tolling scheme has failed, with compliance below 19%, and any revenues coming from paying customers now only barely covering the administration costs. [Moneyweb]
- Gupta revelations: Testimony from former head of legal and compliance at Eskom, Suzanne Daniels at the state capture commission, alleges that the eldest Gupta brother, Ajay Gupta, was deeply involved with machinations at Eskom, orchestrating dismissals to plant subordinates in management, and delaying court processes involved with former CEO Brian Molefe, hoping that current Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would emerge as the new ANC leader in 2017. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: D-Day for the US Fed interest rate decision has arrived, following a day of global risk-on and a clawback by the rand. We can expect some volatility today, especially during the US session this afternoon, with the rand setting its sights on R16.35/$. The rand is trading at the strong end of its broader range, at R16.43 to the dollar, R19,46 to the euro and R21.20 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]