Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 54.6 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1.32 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,245 new cases, taking the total reported to 752,269. Deaths have reached 20,314 (a daily increase of 73), while recoveries have climbed to 695,496, leaving the country with a balance of 36,459 active cases.
- State of disaster: Civil group Dear SA is taking cooperative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to court on an urgent basis to get the state of disaster in South Africa shut down. It is seeking to have the latest extension of the state of disaster declared unlawful and set aside. The group argues that the state of disaster is infringing on constitutional rights in the country with no oversight from parliament. It also says the uncertainty of the Covid-19 virus is no longer there, with plenty of scientific data available to effectively deal with the pandemic. [DearSA]
- Delisted: Six companies have pulled out of the local stock market, with Anchor Group joining the likes of Tiso Blackstar, Peregrine Capital and Intu Properties in delisting from the JSE. The spate of delistings has brought into question the sustainability of the exchange, with Anchor CEO Peter Armitage mentioning listing fees, sponsor fees, audit fees and the governance and reporting costs as one of the factors behind the move. In 2000 there were around 600 companies listed on the JSE – this has dropped to around 350 in 2020. [Moneyweb]
- Matric leak: The Department of Education says it will investigate the leaking of a matric mathematics paper, just hours before it was to be written on Monday. A small group of learners from Gauteng and Limpopo had access to the paper, the department said, and the wider integrity of the paper was not compromised. Law enforcement officials have been called in to assist with the investigations. People with information about the leak have been asked to come forward. [Mail & Guardian]
- Zuma’s gambit: Former president Jacob Zuma continues to put pressure on the state capture commission to have deputy chief justice and commissioner Judge Raymond Zondo recuse himself – threatening to collapse the entire process and potentially undo the work that has been done so far. Zuma and his lawyers are doing their utmost to keep the former president – alleged to be the centre of state capture – out of the hot seat. Zuma says that state capture isn’t real, and is a political term concocted to bury him. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: A renewed risk rally triggered as yet another pharmaceutical company, Moderna, announced a Covid-19 vaccine. With a nearly 95% success rate on late stage trials, the announcement sent risk assets flying, with US and Asian equity markets reaching new record highs. The rally swept through to emerging market assets, including the local currency, enabling the unit to regain some of the ground lost towards the end of last week. The rand starts the day at R15.31 to the dollar, R18.17 to the euro and R20.25 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]