5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 35.3 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,038,000. In South Africa, there have been 926 new cases, taking the total reported to 682,215. Deaths have reached 17,016 (a daily increase of 40), while recoveries have climbed to 615,684, leaving the country with a balance of 49,515 active cases.

  • White elephant: The Gauteng health department is under scrutiny over R1.2 billion in Covid-related spending, including infrastructure projects that are still under construction – but meant to deal with a peak in Covid infections that has already passed. According to a new investigative report on the matter, over 1,400 beds in a field hospital with specialised equipment to treat Covid patients is still not ready, and the facility cannot be easily repurposed to treat other illnesses. [Daily Maverick]

  • Strike action: Teachers unions say they will support and join Cosatu’s planned strike action on Wednesday. The union federation is striking against corruption, wages, and what it says is a lack of support from employers around Covid-19 protection. Teacher union Sadtu says that the state is an uncaring employer, and accused it of failing to pay salary increases due two years ago. Schools are already operating within a heavily truncated school calendar. [M&G]

  • More talk: President Cyril Ramaphosa has again paid lip service to the fight against corruption in the closing statements of an ANC lekgotla, saying that more discussions will be had with alliance partners, and calling on investigative entities to leave no stone unturned. However, the president failed to directly address the string of high-profile arrests made in the past week, nor the blatant acts of corruption being uncovered in various government departments. As has become common, corruption is addressed in broad strokes, with few specifics. [Moneyweb]

  • Stay vigilant: The City of Cape Town says it has seen a noticeable decline in the number of people not complying with lockdown regulations, and basic preventative measures like wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands. The city that even though infections and deaths are slowly declining, the aim is to avoid a second wave of infections as seen in Europe and other regions, calling on South Africans to stick to the protocols in place to protect them from the virus. [EWN]

  • Markets: Much to the relief of the United States, president Donald Trump returned to the White House from his stay in hospital after contracting Covid-19. There has, however, been little impact on the market. There’s little activity in the data calendar, though markets will keep an eye on the European Central Bank and US Fed as they take the stage during the course of the day. The rand starts the day at R16.52 to the dollar, R19.50 to the euro and R21.47 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today