Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 33.7 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,008,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,767 new cases, taking the total reported to 674,339. Deaths have reached 16,734 (a daily increase of 67), while recoveries have climbed to 608,112, leaving the country with a balance of 49,493 active cases.
- Strike action: Union Nehawu says that national strike action is still on the cards, with health workers threatening to strike against poor working conditions and wages. The union has been in high-level talks with government over the issues, but has so far rejected claims that the state has no money to meet their demands. Union leaders said that widespread corruption and looting of budgets shows there is plenty of money, adding that there would be nothing to steal if the coffers were empty. Strike action is planned for October. [ENCA]
- PPE corruption: Gauteng premier David Makhura has taken action against the head of department for health, in response the SIU’s investigations into Covid-19 PPE corruption in the province. The HOD Mkhululi Lukhele was suspended. Billions of rands worth of potentially dodgy deals have been identified in the province, related to the procurement of protective gear to combat Covid-19. The premier will host a briefing on Thursday to further explain his decision. 
- Zim flight: Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says that while it would have been ‘prudent’ to let President Cyril Ramaphosa know that she was taking a delegation of ANC members with her to Zimbabwe using state funds, she doesn’t believe she did anything unlawful or against protocol. Ramaphosa docked the minister’s pay, and ordered her to bill the ANC for expenses incurred by the state in transporting them. The bill came to just over R100,000 according to documents. [Presidency]
- Academic years: 16 South African universities are extending their academic years into 2021 – five will conclude the current year in March 2021; seven will finish in February 2021; and ten will be completed in January 2021. Ten other universities will complete their academic years in 2020 as planned. The main reason for the extended academic years at some universities is because they had not effectively started the year when lockdown hit. [Mail & Guardian]
- Markets: Hopes for additional stimulus from the US government in the form of a Covid-19 relief package added pressure to the greenback yesterday. Local and EU Manufacturing PMI are due today, followed by EU unemployment, US challenger job cuts, initial jobless claims and PMI. The rand is benefitting from the dollar selloff, trading on Thursday at R16.70 to the dollar, R19.60 to the euro and R21.60 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]