Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 58.76 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,388,000. In South Africa, there have been 2,080 new cases, taking the total reported to 769,759. Deaths have reached 20,968 (a daily increase of 65), while recoveries have climbed to 711,195, leaving the country with a balance of 37,596 active cases.
- Leaked: A second matric exam paper has leaked – this time for science – hours before it was being written, sparking security concerns and increasing pressure on a system already under strain due to Covid-19. A math paper leaked earlier in the month. The Hawks are currently investigating the leaks, and the department of education is considering setting time to rewrite the exams to ensure that the leaks do not impact results. [TimesLive]
- Zuma vs Zondo: The state capture commission has approached the Constitutional Court for an order to compel former president Jacob Zuma to testify at the commission, after he absconded from proceedings last week. The commission has also laid criminal charges against Zuma for the action. The irony of the situation is that Zuma is falling foul of the regulations that he himself promulgated before being removed from the presidency. [EWN]
- Constitution change: One of the solutions offered by the ANC to ensure that South African elections are in line with the Constitution, is to change the Constitution. This is in relation to a ConCourt ruling saying that excluding independent candidates from election participation is counter to the highest laws. Instead of going through the lengthy process of passing new laws to bring the Electoral Act in line with the ruling, one solution would be to change the Constitution to exclude independent candidates, an ANC discussion document shows. [Daily Maverick]
- Pressure: The SABC is now under pressure from unions and government to find an alternative solution to retrenchments at the broadcaster. A series of emergency meetings have been held between the broadcasters, unions and government, pushing for more time to discuss alternatives. The SABC had planned to retrench 600 workers, which was later brought down to 400. Other solutions that have been mooted are cutting leave days from 35 to 28 days, and trimming costs in other areas. [News24]
- Markets: A new week, a new vaccine, as AstraZeneca announced a vaccine with a 90% effectiveness rate. Emerging markets and risk assets continue to enjoy the benefit of these announcements, with 13 drug makers now in large-scale efficacy tests and some excellent results having been announced. With little data to keep an eye on today, markets will be watching ECB President Christine Lagarde’s address. The rand is rangebound, starting the day at R15.38 to the dollar, R19.23 to the euro and R20.52 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]