Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 29.9 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 941,000. In South Africa, there have been 2,128 new cases, taking the total reported to 655,527. Deaths have reached 15,772 (an increase of 67), while recoveries have climbed to 585,303, leaving the country with a balance of 54,452 active cases.
- Corruption scandal: Software group SAP has found itself embroiled in another corruption scandal, this time with new evidence pointing to dodgy dealings with water deals in South Africa. The Special Investigating Unit is trying to claw back over R400 million in wasteful expenditure related to SAP contracts with the water department, where millions in kickbacks were paid for contracts that have not delivered. SAP was previously fingered in the Gupta leaks, pointing to similar deals. [AmaBhungane]
- Sanral legal challenge: Sanral is now facing legal action over an e-toll management tender which it cancelled, and has no re-issued. The company leading the action previously bid for the tender and came in at R4.5 billion under the competing bid. It now wants Sanral to reverse the cancellation of the tender bid, and appoint it as the winner. The company lodged the legal challenge after Sanral reissued the tender in June. It believes the reissue is unlawful and irregular. [Moneyweb]
- Vaccine worries: Experts have expressed concerns that rich countries are bulk buying Covid-19 vaccines, which will leave poorer and developing countries without the means to protect themselves against the virus. A new report from Oxfam claims that rich countries – representing 13% of the global population – have already bought up more than half of the doses of a future Covid-19 vaccine. In the best-case scenario, with five vaccines proving successful, it’s estimated that 61% of the world won’t be able to access them until 2022. [TimesLive]
- SAA protests: SAA faces protests and strike action from worker unions, after the government failed to procure the necessary funding needed by the airline to execute its business rescue plan, which involves paying severance packages to retrenched workers and rebooting the airline as a new entity. SAA’s administrators told government it needed funding by Thursday, but nothing came of it. Government says it is still sourcing funding, while SAA is meeting with credits. Meanwhile, workers are preparing to march. [ENCA]
- Markets: The rand continues to test a leg stronger following a dovish Fed, with US jobless claims adding to the rally yesterday afternoon. Eyes are on the rand to sustain the recent break below R16.25 to confirm another move stronger, opening the door towards the R16.00 mark in the short term. The rand starts the day on Friday at R16.17 to the dollar, R19.17 to the euro and R20.96 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]