Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 42.75 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,151,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,622 new cases, taking the total reported to 715,868. Deaths have reached 18,960 (a daily increase of 16), while recoveries have climbed to 646,170, leaving the country with a balance of 50,738 active cases.
- Budget week: Finance minister Tito Mboweni will present government’s spending plan for the next three years this week, as he tables the mid-term budget policy statement on Wednesday, 28 October. Analysts expect Mboweni to signal intentions to implement new tax measures as he scrambles to plug a growing gap in the budget. This is anticipated to come through a host of wealth taxes – though economists note that the minister can’t just do one things, and will have to take a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the country’s financial woes. [Moneyweb]
- Partnership: Government is increasingly looking to follow the ‘partnership model’ with state owned companies – similar to that of Telkom. This appears to be the route it is following with SAA, where public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan is looking for private partners to help fund the failed airline in part. SOEs and their dismal finances – especially the debt problems at Eskom – are expected to be front and centre at the MTBPS this week. [Daily Maverick]
- Occupied: At least a third of the land government has set aside for redistribution is reportedly already occupied by communities and black farmers. Land minister Thoko Didiza recently announced 700,000 hectares of government-owned land would be earmarked for redistribution, as the country edges forward with its plans to change the Constitution to make redistribution without compensation more clear. However, farmers on this land are now worried they will be forced off. [Business Day – paywall]
- Build a bridge: Government is moving ahead with the construction of a R1.6 billion mega-bridge in the Eastern Cape, despite complaints from surrounding communities. Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said that nothing will stop the project from progressing, noting that the development will create jobs in the local community, and boost the economy. The bridge is expected to be completed by January 2022, and will cut 3 hours off travel times in the area. [ENCA]
- Markets: Some caution was witnessed in global markets in the overnight session as US Congress remains at a stalemate, while the US elections are just a week away. Markets are also bracing for the local MTBPS due on Wednesday. The rand is holding steady after the recent rally, trading at R16.25 to the dollar, R19.22 to the euro and R21.16 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]