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 55.7 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1.34 million. In South Africa, there have been 2,888 new cases, taking the total reported to 757,144. Deaths have reached 20,556 (a daily increase of 123), while recoveries have climbed to 701,534, leaving the country with a balance of 35,054 active cases.

  • Investment: Companies have pledged almost R110 billion in investment in president Cyril Ramaphosa’s third investment drive – although the president says that this can’t just be a number, it has to translate to job creation. Since Ramaphosa launched these investment drives, over R770 billion has been committed to various development projects in the country. The president set a target of R1.2 trillion in investment over five years. The commitment is to develop infrastructure and production facilities and investing in local research and design. [Daily Maverick]

  • Job cuts: The SABC will move ahead with its retrenchments as planned, despite a fight back from journalists and other employees at the broadcaster. However, the board has recognised the dispute and said it will look at other ways to limit job losses. The group initially planned to retrench 600 workers, but this was decreased to 400 through other cost-cutting measures, such as reducing leave from 35 days to 28 days. [702]

  • Your money: The South African Reserve Bank has seemingly made moves to make it easier for people to invest more, offshore. A change in definition makes it so that locally-listed firms holding offshore assets, will have these assets defined as domestic holdings, as long as they trade these assets locally and in rand. Experts warn that, so far, this doesn’t change the current rules that limit offshore holdings to 30%, but eyes are on the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to clarify these new definitions and what it means for those looking to invest more overseas. [Moneyweb]

  • Frenemies: Former president Jacob Zuma is continuing his bid to get deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo off the state capture commission, threatening two years of work to uncover a widespread network of corruption in which Zuma has been named as the centre point. Zondo is set to announce his decision on the recusal today. Zuma claims that he and Zondo are close friends, thus the DCJ cannot be impartial. Zondo has stated that he knows Zuma only through a wide family link, and is not friends with the former president in any capacity. [EWN]

  • Markets: Following the vaccine hype, a correction in the overnight session has seen the rand weaken. Two Covid-19 vaccines, with a reported 95% effectiveness, will be applying for rollout approval in the coming weeks – however concerns remain over logistics and affordability. UK retail sales will be followed by the local interest rate decision today. US jobless claims will be released later today. The rand starts the day at R15.53 to the dollar, R18.39 to the euro and R20.55 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today