Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 33.2 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1 million . In South Africa, there have been 903 new cases, taking the total reported to 671,669. Deaths have reached 16,586 (a daily increase of 188), while recoveries have climbed to 604,478, leaving the country with a balance of 50,605 active cases.
- 2021 Elections: While political parties have suggested postponing the 2021 local elections to 2024, or combining both the local and national elections into one big poll, the Independent Electoral Commission says that these processes would require in-depth and lengthy discussions which would unlikely be done in the near-term. As such the 2021 local elections are likely to continue as planned, with the IEC estimating an August to November window in which they could take place. [Daily Maverick]
- TERS relief: Applications for the UIF’s Covid relief payments, covering 15 August to 16 September, will open on Thursday. However, the recently upgraded system is still apparently struggling with technical issues – most notably, there are about 90,000 employees whose banking details cannot be verified. The UIF itself says that the system is working fine, saying that it is confident all payments will be made. The system has been paused a couple of times due to technical issues, leaving beneficiaries in the lurch for days. [Moneyweb]
- Broke SAA: As the airline has warned for months, SAA is out of money and is waiting for funding to pay the R90 million it owes to technical staff. Workers picketed on Monday, having only been paid half their salaries – but the failed airline said that it needs funding to fulfil its pay obligations. Managers, however, received full pay. The airline is in-line for yet another state bailout, with the Department of Public Enterprises committing National Treasury to sourcing R10 billion in funding. [ENCA]
- Zuma delays: Former president Jacob Zuma is now demanding that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recuse himself from the state capture commission of enquiry. Zuma – who has used every trick in the book to stay out of court for years, and has delayed his appearance before the state capture commission – is now claiming that Zondo is biased towards him, and is seeking an interdict on the matter. He refuses to appear before the commission until the interdict application is resolved. [EWN]
- Markets: There’s very little new information in the market which continues to keep an eye on the race for the presidency in the US, the Federal Reserve policy stance and the ongoing Covid-19 resurgence threat. Various sentiment and confidence numbers are due from the EU while local unemployment is due for release today with the level expected to be at a record high. The rand starts the day at R17.02 to the dollar, R19.86 to the euro and R21.85 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]