Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 40.1 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,114,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,461 new cases, taking the total reported to 705,254. Deaths have reached 18,492 (a daily increase of 21), while recoveries have climbed to 635,257, leaving the country with a balance of 51,505 active cases.
- Second wave: Experts are pushing back against the ‘second wave’ narrative around Covid-19, saying that the term mischaracterises what is happening. They say that it is not a fresh wave of the coronavirus sweeping nations, but a resurgence due to prevention measures being relaxed as well as better testing and understanding of the virus. Notably, a common outcome of the so-called ‘second waves’ is that the fatality rates are far lower. New modelling shows the argument in effect. [Mail & Guardian]
- Sidestepping Eskom: As the government moves to finalise a number of economic recovery plans, one thing seems to be missing from the picture: Eskom’s growing debt issues. While energy has certainly been pivotal in the plans, the focus has been on expediting new generation sources, with not much addressing the very real Eskom financial crisis. Eskom still cannot rake in enough revenue to pay its debts, and says it requires R250 billion of debt to be shifted off its books. The recovery plans merely acknowledge the issue, but present no solution. [Daily Maverick]
- SABC: A letter sent to SABC employees indicates that the public broadcaster is preparing a second wave of job cuts. The dismissals are targeting those who purportedly benefitted from ‘improper’ appointment processes. So far 13 employees have received letters. The appointments are reportedly linked to a time under former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng when the broadcaster faced major programming and operational issues. [EWN]
- Spending plan: Ratings firm S&P Global has echoed the criticism of many economists on president Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic recovery plan, saying that it lacks detail on the necessary reforms to aid a proper recovery. Instead, the plan is more of a spending plan than a reform plan, the firm said. Economists have generally received the plan coldly, saying it relies heavily on effective and efficient implementation – something the South African government has a poor track record for. [Business Day – Paywall]
- Markets: The environment remains unchanged and markets continue to wait for the dynamics in the United States to play out. It’s a quiet data day on Tuesday, with the People’s Bank of China Loan Prime Rate decision being the only notable event. The rand starts the day at R16.55 to the dollar, R19.48 to the euro and R21.42 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]