Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 36.2 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,054,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,736 new cases, taking the total reported to 686,891. Deaths have reached 17,408 (a daily increase of 160), while recoveries have climbed to 618,771, leaving the country with a balance of 50,712 active cases.
- PP removal: The process to remove the Public Protector from office will proceed, it was announced this week, with the panel to assess the situation with standing protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, now selected. The panel will be the first assessment in the 17-step process to have a standing Public Protector removed. The final step is to have a Constitutionally-required two-third majority in Parliament agreeing to the removal. Mkhwebane has suffered several bruising legal failures over her reports. [Daily Maverick]
- Zuma days: The State Capture Commission says it will move ahead with an application for a summons to force Jacob Zuma to appear before it and testify. This follows a campaign by Zuma and his supporters to discredit the commission in a bid to keep the former president out of the hot seat. Zuma and his supporters accused deputy chief justice and head of the commission, Raymond Zondo, of being biased, and want him to recuse himself. Zuma has been at the centre of state capture allegations since the scandal broke in 2016. [EWN]
- Questionable: More City of Joburg tenders are being probed in relation to questionable procurement practices – this time looking at deep cleaning contracts. Opposition parties are calling for answers as the list of dodgy contracts under investigation grows. The province is investigating billions of rands worth of contracts and tenders issued under emergency procurement guidelines during the Covid-19 outbreak. [ENCA]
- Mothballed: SAA is mulling its options – including the winding down of the business and liquidation – while it waits for government to provide any concrete source of funding for the airline’s rescue plan. The airline has been mothballed, with the administrators suspending all operations. Government has promised to provide funding for the airline, but has not been forthcoming with how this will be done. It has suggested private-public partnerships, but no such deal has yet been formalised. [Fin24 – paywall]
- Markets: In a second Trump U-turn for the week, stimulus talks have resumed in congress, with hopes in the market soaring. After mostly rangebound trade this week, the rand gained on the back of the renewed hope as investors welcome the potential for even a partial stimulus package making its way to the US economy. The rand starts the day on Friday on a slightly better footing at R16.54 to the dollar, R19.47 to the euro and R21.48 to the pound. [XE]