Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 33.4 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1 million. In South Africa, there have been 903 new cases, taking the total reported to 672,572. Deaths have reached 16,667 (a daily increase of 81), while recoveries have climbed to 606,520, leaving the country with a balance of 49,385 active cases.
- Confusion: Stats SA’s latest unemployment figures have left many people confused – with unemployment dropping despite 2.2 million people losing their jobs – with economists and other commenters criticising the stats body for not better explaining the figures. The issue comes in with how Stats SA defines employment through its survey – which does not include those who are economically inactive. This distorts the reality of the losses experienced in the quarter. In reality, unemployment increased to over 42%, economists say. [EWN]
- Covid corruption: The City of Johannesburg flouted legislation and regulations in blowing R80 million in the first two weeks of the national state of disaster, an internal audit has found. The money was spent on ’emergency procurement’. While the city said that it put a stop to the processes and found those responsible, they will only face disciplinary action once investigations are completed. [ENCA]
- Get rich quick: Leaked data from the Mirror Trading International (MTI) scheme has revealed that its leadership is made up of people who have been previously linked to known get-rich-quick scams in South Africa. The data was exposed through a security vulnerability and published on the dark web. MTI is currently under investigation by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, and has already been blacklisted in the USA and Canada for running an illegal international multilevel marketing programme. [MyBroadband]
- Zuma delaying tactics: Constitutional law experts say Jacob Zuma’s latest attempt to stay out of the hot seat on corruption will unlikely hold up in court – but it will prove effective in giving him political and legal cover when he ignores attempts to get him to testify in front of the Zondo commission into state capture. Zuma has called for the recusal of deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo from the commission, saying he is being unfairly targeted. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: The rand continues to seesaw, clawing back ground against the dollar after holding above the current R17.20 to the dollar support level. A lack of liquidity in emerging markets as a whole, driven by pre-US presidential election caution, is causing exaggerated moves in the currency, giving rise to the current volatility. The dollar dipped leading up to the presidential debates. The rand starts the day at R16.92 to the dollar, R19.87 to the euro and R21.76 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]